If you recall, I wrote about Aaron Rodgers’ looming contract extension about a month ago, prior to the start of free agency. As you might imagine, there’s been some developments since then and the extension may come sooner than later, unlike what had been previously predicted. So, without much ado, we’ll delve into the new details and see where we stand now.
First things first, worry not about the long term future of Rodgers in Green Bay. While some have called for the two-time MVP to consider moving on to another team, but Aaron has given no indication of wanting to be elsewhere and all signs point to him signing another extension of as much as five years in length.
Second thing, and likely the biggest development for the extension, Kirk Cousins signed a record shattering deal early in free agency. Minnesota handed cousins a three-year contract worth $84 million ($28 million per year). That’s a healthy amount more than the $22 million per year averaged by Rodgers over the course of his current five-year deal. I said it in the last piece, I’ll say it again, NOBODY in the NFL deserves to make more money than Aaron Rodgers. Is it smart to pay a quarterback that much? Who knows, but it certainly isn’t smart to let him walk to to an unwillingness to pay.
The primary reason the Cousins deal is notable is that it is 100% guaranteed. That’s normal in the NBA and MLB, but it’s unheard of in the NFL. Kirk signing the deal he did changed the landscape for contracts. I had initially predicted Kirk’s deal to be around or over $30 million per year, but never did I imagine the Vikings would fully guarantee it, no matter what. If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I want the exact same treatment.
Now, I previously predicted that Aaron Rodgers would receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $32 million per year (18% of the 2018 salary cap). A $4 million boost over the next highest paid player may be a bit audacious, but Aaron isn’t just a little better than Cousins, he’s in a league of his own.
Packers’ president Mark Murphy addressed the possibility of Aaron getting a deal that was tied to a percentage of the salary cap saying, “I foresee agents trying to get that but I do not anticipate that that will happen.” A deal tid to a cap percentage would certainly be groundbreaking across all sports, and it would ensure that Aaron’s deal isn’t outpaced by others in the years immediately preceding his signing. Though this option is likely on the table, it would be a surprise to see it get done. If indeed Aaron does get a deal like this it would likely not be at a number as high as 18% but at one closer to 15%. A figure like that would mean around $26.6 million in 2018 but more and more with each passing year.
If Aaron signs a more typical deal, that pays out a predetermined sum (albeit 100% guaranteed in his case, which is strikingly unusual), it will undoubtedly be worth more per year than the one Cousins just signed. The question will be how much. At this point, it seems fair to assume he would surpass Kirk by at least one or two million per year, which would put him on pace for the first $30 million per year deal in NFL history.
In the end, it’s impossible to say exactly what kind of deal Rodgers will get, or how much it will be worth, or when it will be signed. However, don’t be surprised if he breaks the bank (again) before the offseason is over. You pay the price for greatness, and much like Aaron, that price will be record breaking.