Alas, Aaron Rodgers’ contract extension is complete, after months of negotiations between the Packers and Rodgers as well as much discussion amongst Packer fans. Soon after Jimmy Garappolo signed a 5 Year 125,000,000 contract with the 49ers, I surmised a Rodgers contract would land in $32-33M per year range. In the end that was a slight underestimation with the extension coming in at $33.5M/year. As it stands, when adding in the two years left on his existing contract, the Packers have Rodgers under contract for six seasons at an average of $29M/year.
Rodgers’ contract in 2013 carried with it an average salary of $22M, against a salary cap at that time of $123M. That is 17.8% of the salary cap. The recent extension equates to 18.9% of the salary cap of $177.2M. There has been a rise from that standpoint albeit modest. But that rise is consistent with the rise of Quarterback pay in general; In 2013, the franchise tag for a QB was 14.642M, or 12.1% of the cap. In 2018, that figure was $23.189 or $13.1% of the salary cap. The market has pushed compensation for QBs higher relative to other positions, in the past five years and they are still likely lower than they should be when you look at the impact they have on the game. Kirk Cousins was the first quarterback of any significance to hit the open market in some time. Rodgers raise is no different than other top quarterbacks.
Structurally there are differences, but those aren’t even as significant as it seems. The signing bonus which is a whopping $57.5M and 32.4% of the cap vs $33.25 in 2013 which was 27.4%. A significant difference to be sure, but within the ball park.
In both contracts, the money is all but guaranteed for the first three of four years, due to the dead cap hit the team would have to absorb in the event of Rodgers being cut. With that said, base salaries and roster bonuses are similar, as its pretty much guaranteed though not a signing bonus. Relating to that, one subtle but significant difference in this contract, is that in year three, there is a significant jump in those amounts, going from a combined $14.5 to $20.6M, whereas in the previous contact, those amounts grew at a modest rate in years two through four.
Still, even though the contracts aren’t all that different from a total %, this contract does cut deeper into the salary cap than the previous contract. Both contracts were extended with two years left on the previous deal. But this time there was over $40M remaining on it and the other have a little of $20M remaining. So while the extensions themselves are similar, the cap ramifications aren’t, because of what turned out to be an amazingly team friendly deal in 2008, when Rodgers signed an extension during his first season as a starter.
For all the hub bub about this being an earth shattering contract, it isn’t that far off from the existing contract. It is well worth it too, when you have the best player and the most important positon. The only way you could possibly have a better situation in the current NFL is if you struck gold on a rookie quarterback such as the Seahawks did with Russell Wilson, who himself could eclipse Rodgers’ contract, soon. Matt Ryan’s contract averages $30M per year and is similar Rodgers from a structural standpoint, with his base salary (and thus cap number), jumping considerably in year three, like Rodgers new contract.
And Kirk Cousins contract averages $28M. Would any sane person want Kirk Cousins plus $5.5M else over Aaron Rodgers?Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz