Pay That Man 4.0 – The Packers Pony Up

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Welcome to the fourth and final installment of Pay that Man. It’s been a couple months since my most recent piece on Aaron Rodgers’ contract and six months since we first started envisioning the contract. As the title indicated, and as I have strongly advocated, the Packers just paid the man, as James Jones first reported.

Matt Ryan set the quarterback market earlier this summer with his five-year, $150 million contract that guaranteed him $100 million. For those of you counting at home, that’s $30 million per year, and the largest guarantee in NFL History. Rodgers’ deal broke most, though not all of those marks.

Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the 2018 preseason.
I predicted that Aaron would pull in close to $32 million per year with the new deal, which was close, though not high enough. Rodgers’ deal, as you’ve by now likely heard, is a four-year extension that adds $134 million ($33.5 million per year) and guarantees him $103 million dollars. Seeing as Aaron had two years on his current deal, he is now signed through the 2023 season (after which he’ll be 40 years old). Coupled with what was left on his current deal, and Rodgers will be pulling in an average of between $29 and $30 million per year over the next six years.

The big money for Rodgers, however, is coming in the short term. He’s now set to make $66.9 million by the end of this season, and $80 million by mid-March. The pot of gold isn’t at the end of the rainbow, it’s at Aaron’s house. After this season he’ll actually be making between $15 and $26 million per year, with a cap hit near $30 million. What all this means is that the team managed to spread the impact of Aaron’s contract out over the next six years so as to mitigate his cap hit and free up as much money as possible for the rest of the team.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a denim tux.
If, by some crazy circumstances, you’ve read this far and don’t think Aaron is worth that kind of money, you’re wrong. He adds more value to the team than any other player in football and therefore he is compensated more than any other player in football. See here if you’re unconvinced of that. The only point of hesitation on this deal is whether or not you think Aaron will start to lose steam over the next few seasons, after all he’s going to be 35 later this year with five more years to go on the current deal. He prioritizes preparation and care for his body as much or more than any other player, and he hasn’t’t shown any signs of slowing up. Additionally, the longevity of high level play demonstrated by the likes of Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees, coupled with rule changes in the favor of the offense seems to indicate that we can safely bet Aaron will be a force for at least the next half decade.

Packer fans, rejoice. We get to watch a hall of famer, and arguably the best to every do it, play for six more years.

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