Slim chance of that happening now unless Hundley makes a drastic turnaround with the rest of his playing time this season, beginning with this Sunday’s game at Chicago.
Hundley, a fifth-round pick in 2015, came out of college one year after Garoppolo was taken in the second round of the 2014 draft. The Patriots sent him to the 49ers at last week’s trade deadline in exchange for a second-round pick that will be much higher than where Garoppolo was picked at No. 62 overall. It was Belichick’s last chance to trade his backup quarterback before he could lose him because Garoppolo will be a free agent after this season.
The Packers picked Hundley with no expectation that he would ever be their full-time starter; Aaron Rodgers was just 31 years old. The Packers entertained trade offers for Hundley during this year’s draft but figured their best chance to get maximum value would come in the season before he would hit free agency.
A longtime NFL personnel executive said Tuesday that the Packers could have gotten a fourth-round pick had they moved Hundley in the spring.
And now that Hundley has started two games after Rodgers broke his collarbone?
“Nothing,” the personnel executive said.
An NFL scout who has seen the Packers in person this season said Hundley’s trade value was at its highest after his rookie season.
As a rookie, Hundley led the NFL in preseason passing yards (630) and completed 69.2 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and one interception for a 129.6 passer rating (third-best in the 2015 exhibition season). Hundley spent that entire season as the No. 3 quarterback and was inactive for every game.
He played only sparingly in the summer of 2016, when a training camp ankle injury limited him to just one preseason appearance during which he completed 5 of 7 passes. As the No. 2 quarterback, he appeared in four games (plus one playoff game) -- all in mop-up duty when games were out of reach.
“There’s no replacement for live football,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. “If you want to go back, missing the preseason two years ago as far as where he’s at in his progression … but the opportunity is now. That’s why we’re spending the extra time that we are. We have more video on him to build off of and correct. The Bears have more video on him to study and attack. That’s what’s so great about this game.”
This past offseason, Hundley got the rare chance to take first-team reps for an entire week after McCarthy excused Rodgers and several other veterans from mandatory minicamp. Hundley also played extensively in this past preseason. The third preseason game, normally designated as a dress rehearsal for the starters, was designed for Hundley with McCarthy saying at the time, “I was trying to make sure I could give Brett as much work as possible.”
The Packers never gave a reason for playing Hundley at length this summer -- whether it was solely to prepare Hundley in case anything happened to Rodgers or to put him on display one last time before the Packers decided to trade him the following offseason.
This past offseason, Hundley described his rookie success as “just playing” and “instinct” but said he’s “getting into next-level stuff, a higher level and understanding the whys of everything.”
It hasn’t translated to real, live action.
In his two starts plus the final three quarters at Minnesota after Rodgers went down, Hundley has a passer rating of 58.0 -- that’s 32nd among quarterbacks during that stretch. He’s also 32nd in yards per attempt (5.09) among quarterbacks who have played during that time span, ahead of only Houston’s Tom Savage (4.98) and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (4.95). He has completed 58.3 percent of his passes (25th in that stretch) and has thrown just one touchdown pass (and none since the Vikings game).
Still, McCarthy remained firmly committed to Hundley, saying after Monday’s loss to the Lions that “Brett Hundley's not our issue.”
Given how quickly things change in the NFL, Hundley’s market value could spike if his performance improves.
"If he wins three games," the scout said, "somebody might give up a midround pick for him."