It is almost never too soon to confront contract concerns over a player of Aaron Rodgers caliber. When asked earlier this week Rodgers said, “I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I’m going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension.” The NFL market is only going up therefore so is the number on Rodgers next projected pay check. Right now the top four cap hits for 2017 are all owned by quarterbacks. If Joe Flacco averages $22 million a year Rodgers will likely want to sky over that. He currently averages the same as Flacco who is at least one tier lower the Rodgers on the quarterback totem pole.
Contract talks became more pressing following Rodgers comments about Mike Glennon getting $15 million a year with the Bears.
Aaron Rodgers on if Mike Glennon possibly getting $15M/year in free agency should lead to talks about his own contract: "I think it has to."
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) March 8, 2017
The final year of Rodgers current contract will result in a $21.1 million dollar cap hit in 2019. If all goes as planned they will have agreed upon an extension by then. Especially given the skyrocketing market for QBs around the league. There are talks of Oakland’s Derek Carr getting at least $25 million a year on his next deal.
If Rodgers was 26 again he would certainly warrant the same. Yet even at 33 he deserves to be the highest paid player in the NFL.
Right now that title belongs to Andrew Luck who was inked to a five-year $140 million dollar deal. That is a resounding $28 million a year. The most in NFL history. The case can be made that Rodgers deserves at least the same if not upwards of $30 million a year.
With a NFL salary cap that is only going up the Packers should act sooner than later. When Rodgers resigned in 2013 the cap was $123 million. Since then it has risen to $167 million.
Mediocre quarterbacks such as Brock Osweiler are getting insane money with over 50% of it guaranteed. Rodgers did not even get that on his last contract. Only $54 million of his $110 million was guaranteed.
To be clear Rodgers is not saying “pay me now or else.” We are not talking about a training camp holdout here. Or even that as a possibility. However, it has became more obvious that he is underpaid. Rodgers likes having new toys to play with on offense and understands that money has to be spent on defense to win championships. But, does Rodgers think he is underpaid? Yes. Is he hoping to have a new deal soon? Probably.
Hopefully sooner than the 2020 offseason Rodgers will have put pen to paper. He knows the Packers front office appreciates him. Hell, they would give him a lifetime deal if they could. Barring that Rodgers does not get too greedy a four-year $118 million dollar extension should be doable.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over two years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.