Sports Illustrated columnist and former Green Bay Packers front office member Andrew Brandt doesn’t see a new deal being reached with quarterback Aaron Rodgers anytime soon. Of course, Rodgers has two years left on his current contract, but he is vastly underpaid given the present market for franchise quarterbacks. Contract negotiations between the two parties have been a consistent topic this offseason, however, we have yet to see a resolution.
The former MVP and Green Bay savior is due almost $42 million over the next two seasons yet it still doesn’t touch what players inferior to Rodgers’ skill level are earning.
“The new standard bearer for player compensation from a contract extension is Matt Ryan, who was able to negotiate an eye-popping $94.5 million over the next three years. However, upon closer inspection, Ryan had one season remaining on his deal, at $19 million, so his “true” total over the next three years is more like $75 million—more like a $25 million per year average than a $31 million per year average. Jimmy Garoppolo netted a five-year, $137.5 million deal with the 49ers, an apparent $27.5 million average. However, he would have otherwise made a franchise tag number of $23 million, making his “new money” $113.5 million over five years, or a $22.7 million average. Kirk Cousins is the one contract that “starts from scratch,” without an existing year as an unrestricted free agent, and he signed for $28 million per year.”
Rodgers’ looming deal will have to touch at least $32 million per year in order to make him the NFL’s highest-paid player. As a two-time league MVP and Super Bowl Champion he deserves it, but the money doesn’t appear to be what’s holding back an agreement.
Recently, the quarterback sat down with Peter King of NBC Sports stating his next deal will be unlike his previous one.
“I think that there’s some merit to looking into where you do a non-traditional contractual agreement,” Rodgers said. “If anybody at this point is gonna be able to do something like that, I think there needs to be a conversation about it. I never said anything about the cap. I just think there’s ways to do contracts where you can still be competitive so the team is happy about it, but have some more freedom.”
It makes sense for Rodgers to want more flexibility. After all the market is forever changing as the salary cap continues to rise but at the moment he lacks the necessary leverage. Thus, bringing everything to a standstill.
Brandt talked about the idea of Rodgers having a deal that can increase in value over time, but it would only bring them back to negotiations if the quarterback was being out-earned by another player.
“I have heard the idea of a contract with a fixed cap percentage many times over the past 20 years, even from agents proposing it to me while with the Packers. I’m not saying it is a nonstarter, but this is an uphill climb. The aforementioned Management Council—which approves all contracts that teams submit—is not going to approve a contract without an actual number attached to each individual year. Further, even if the numbers are, again, “adjustable,” those adjustments would require renegotiations between Rodgers and the Packers when the new cap is set each year.”
The Packers are entering unmarked territory as they risk offering Rodgers too much power if his contract is ridden with clauses. Everyone obviously wants the deal to get done sooner rather than later, though the longer it’s drawn out, the less likely it becomes.
The reality is setting in that we may be waiting until 2019 for Rodgers’ historic deal.
Hoping to ease any tension Packers president Mark Murphy stated a few days ago, “He wants to be here and we want him to be here. When both sides have a common interest, you get deals done.”
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.