Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers has two years remaining on his current contract, but will unquestionably get a new deal soon.
What do Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, and Jimmy Garappolo all have in common? At one point, they were all the highest paid players in NFL history. Have they ever been the best at their position? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve their pay structure.
It may seem laughable at first glance that Jimmy Garappolo was, for awhile, the highest paid player in NFL history. But with the salary cap increasing year by year, and non-stop spending by teams in free agency, the highest paid player is almost always the most recently paid quarterback.
But seeing that the salary cap has gone up by an average of about $11 million over the past five seasons, context reveals this is becoming the new norm. Sure, there have been a few instances where the highest paid player really was the best at their respective position, but the rest have been few and far between.
The Green Bay Packers‘ front office has stated in the past they’d like to sign quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a new deal ‘sooner rather than later’, to keep their star player up to par with the latest and greatest salaries. That sounds all fine and dandy, but what can the Packers expect to fork over to their franchise cornerstone?
With fellow NFC North QB Kirk Cousins signing the first fully-guaranteed contract in NFL history, what will numbers-crunching-extraordinaire Russ Ball leave on the table for Rodgers’ agent to consider?
With Cousins becoming the most recent highest paid player in NFL history, signing a $28 million average annual salary at the beginning of free agency, it seems Rodgers is poised to close that gap sometime this offseason.
However, with Matt Ryan also nearing the end of his deal, Rodgers may need to wait even longer. That being said, Ryan probably wants to hold out for Rodgers to be the first to finish a deal as well, which could turn both scenarios into the ultimate waiting game.
After everything is all said and done though, I believe Rodgers will be the highest paid player in NFL history. The only question is by how much?
Prediction: 5-year, $150 million, $105 guaranteed contract.
He’d become the first player to ever eclipse $100 million guaranteed, firmly overtaking Kirk’s $84 million – and breaks open the $30 million floodgates (average annual salary). The deal would likely keep Rodgers as the highest paid player for the foreseeable future, while also not holding the Packers back financially with a fully-guaranteed contract.
Another proposal I’ve seen floating around is to sign Rodgers to a fixed-rate percentage of the allotted salary cap (e.g. 15-17 percent), which would almost always guarantee Rodgers to be the highest paid player in the league. Although this type of scenario is highly unlikely, there’s a first for everything.
Signing No. 12 to a new long-term deal was always the highest priority this offseason. No matter what happens, the Packers front office has their work cut out for them. Finding the right number for both parties will be hard, especially with a defense in need of a mini-rebuild.
A contract extension for Rodgers may mean a lower cap-hit in 2018. When the extension happens is anyone’s guess – but when it does happen, the latest highest paid player will return to being the best.