Carr, Stafford Set the Blueprint for a Rodgers Extension

When the Packers signed Aaron Rodgers to a deal worth up to $110 million in 2013, it was the highest salary per season in NFL history, then-eclipsing Joe Flacco who was issued $120.6 million through six years just a month prior.

Rodgers would go on to make $60.7 million through the next three seasons and another $12.6 million in 2016. Since then, both Derek Carr and Matthew Stafford hit the jackpot with their respective franchises.

Carr was issued $25 million per year over the offseason from the Raiders, and just last night, Stafford's camp upped the ante, squeezing $27 million from the Lions. That made the Packers' NFC North rival quarterback not just the highest-paid player in the division, but in league history.

Rodgers is now the seventh highest-paid quarterback in the league, and his production certainly doesn't match his financial standings.

If Stafford's making $27 million per year, one would assume Rodgers' agent, David Dunn, would manage to push Rodgers over the $30 million hump. It's no secret he damn well deserves every last penny.

The Packers can get away with it, too. They currently have the eighth-most cap space in the league, sitting on $21.1 million and counting after releasing Colby Pearson, William Stanback and Derek Hart on Monday.

Some of that change may go towards free agent linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who is set to visit Green Bay and meet with the organization today. However, that likely won't make much of a dent in the Packers' spending plans.

Thanks to the way Player Finance specialist Russ Ball handles the Packers' notorious frugal spending, the Packers won't necessarily need to throw every last dollar at Rodgers the same year he signs his new contract.

The deals are broken into increments, and while a player like Rodgers doesn't come with incentive-based loopholes in his contract, the league salary cap could present challenges.

In a piece from Zach Kruse of The Packers Wire in June, former NFL agent Joel Corry noted the inflated salary cap and provided analytics on just how that could impact a new deal for Rodgers.

“The salary cap was $123 million when Rodgers signed his current deal, which contained $54 million in guarantees, of which $44.5 million was fully guaranteed at signing," Corry said, initially to CBS Sports. "Assuming a $180 million salary cap next year, a deal equivalent to Rodgers’ existing one would average slightly over $32 million per year and contain almost $80 million in guarantees, where $65 million is fully guaranteed at signing."

When Rodgers signed his extension in 2013, he had two years remaining on his deal. After 2017, he'll have two years remaining on his current deal as well. It'd be a prime spot for the Packers to tackle an extension with the then-34-year-old quarterback before another middle-range signal-caller ascends the market even further.

Rodgers said in June that he had no lingering worries about when a deal will get done or how long the process will take. Instead, he bestowed every last bit of confidence in his agent.

"That stuff usually takes care of itself, and I have a fantastic agent, he does a great job," Rodgers said according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "He worries about that stuff. When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself. 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 and when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension."

Thankfully, due to the Packers' large amount of cap space, there won't be a need to restructure any of the players' deals. Even despite popular banter amongst fans calling for Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews' contract readjustments.

Rodgers is leaps and bounds ahead of the player he was in 2013, which is still somewhat of an oddity considering he was a lethal force to be reckoned with even at the time. That was just before he suffered a broken collarbone and missed seven games of the 2013 season.

Now, he's at the top of his game and will likely continue performing at the high level—if not higher—that he's played at for almost a decade. It would be wise for the Packers to finish a deal with Rodgers sooner rather than later and secure who many proclaim to be the most gifted quarterback the league has ever seen.

Since the 2013 extension, Rodgers has started 57 games. In them, he's thrown 126 touchdowns to just 26 interceptions, completed 64.6 percent of his passes for a 103.5 paser rating.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (17)

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EdsLaces's picture

August 29, 2017 at 04:22 pm

These are insane amounts of money. It's absolutely ridiculous to think that it would bother someone that they only made 60 million over 3 years. Gimme a break....

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ricky's picture

August 29, 2017 at 04:50 pm

It's basic capitalism: supply and demand. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business. The position most in demand is QB; there is also a definite lack of good QB talent. So, the price goes up to attain and retain an excellent employee. Rodgers will make a lot of money, the team will make a lot of money, the league will make a lot of money. Remember, Roger Goodell is making somewhere around $42 million a year.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 30, 2017 at 08:20 am

Yeah, I agree, Goodell is making 42 mill per year. But he cannot be cap casualty...

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hodge555's picture

August 29, 2017 at 04:29 pm

I see this next extension will happen for the 2018 season, it makes a lot of sense for the Packers and follows the precidents of his previous contract negotiations (them having 2yrs still to go when the next deal is done).
Now as to how much and for how long will be the interesting part but the Packers have definantely been saving up in cap space in preparation, one of the reasons I believe why they haven't splashed out on expensive FA's. They also need to deal with HHCD, Corey Linsley and Davante Adams' new deals too in 2018.

My guess is that Rodgers next deal will be 5yrs @ $30m per ($150m), $100m guaranteed.

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Mojo's picture

August 29, 2017 at 05:26 pm

Hodge I think your guess on Rodgers will be about right on years, amt & guaranteed $'s.

As for next years FA's, I believe HHCD was extended so they don't have to deal with him yet. However, you could add Lane Taylor to the list since I think GB wants him to stick around. And God knows how much it will cost to keep Jeff Janis here.

I'm guessing GB is working behind the scenes right now to resign at least one of next years targeted FA.s. It would explain in part why there's a fairly large cap number this late in the preseason. Most of that would go to these resigns.

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The TKstinator's picture

August 29, 2017 at 06:59 pm

Almost slipped that Jeff Janis past the goalie...but only ALMOST. Good one, nonetheless.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 29, 2017 at 05:37 pm

Sign him now before the price goes up too much!

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Wiscokid's picture

August 29, 2017 at 06:16 pm

Pay the man. He's worth way more than Goodell.☺

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The TKstinator's picture

August 29, 2017 at 10:04 pm

And throws a tighter spiral.

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Since'61's picture

August 29, 2017 at 10:20 pm

This is one of those situations where the Packers structure (not having an owner) works in their favor. If Rodgers wins another SB and/or MVP before his contract negotiation he could walk into an owner's office and just say " Hi Partner". The flip side is that if Rodgers decides he wants as much money as possible he could go to FA and seek the highest bidder. I don't see that happening but you never know what an agent may do. Time will tell. Thanks, Since '61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 30, 2017 at 03:20 am

AR is contractually bound to GB for 2017, 2018, and 2019. He becomes a FA in 2020. I think this is largely a technical point, since we do have to keep AR happy. AR has no guaranteed money for 2018 and 2019, and I think that is not a coincidence. I suspect there was a gentleman's agreement to extend the contract after or during the 2017 season.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 30, 2017 at 04:09 am

When one's elite QB wants to renegotiate, what's a club to do? That is probably why I am looking for a hard-headed analysis on this issue in vain. AR turns 34 in December. A five year extension would mean he turns 39 in the last year. When is a QB likely to start to decline, and when is he likely to be washed up? I sure can't predict that. After 2017, AR has no guaranteed money left on his contract. Surely that is an advantageous thing for the franchise - there would be no dead money at all. Could someone explain why we can't hold him to that contract through the 2019 season, then franchise him for 2 or 3 years?

Lets assume that an elite QB and the face of the franchise is different than any other position, and we have to keep AR happy and paid well. Let us be wary of the numbers some folks are throwing around almost with glee. Paying AR the kind of numbers noted in the article might negatively affect the team's ability to attract and retain quality players at other positions. I note that AR's salary as a % of the cap has never exceeded 13.2%:

AR’s salary cap # as a % of the cap:
2017: 13.17%
2016: 12.40%
2015: 12.74%
2014: 13.20%
2013: 9.47%
2012: 7.05%
2011: 6.46%
2010: Uncapped
2009: 8.45%
2008: 12.03%

13.2% of a $167M cap = $21.7M.
13.2% of a 2018 $180M = $23.76M
13.2% of a ? $220M cap = $29.04M.
$30M of a $180M cap = 16.67%
$32M of a $180M cap = 17.78%.

I suppose we ought to pay AR what he's worth. It is kind of the American Way, and I suspect that there was a gentleman's agreement to re-negotiate after 2017 when the guaranteed money ends. There is also the off chance that AR will be able and willing to play into his forties, and that he will still be pretty good. If we do, the FO better make fewer mistakes on contracts to other players (very little margin for error), or the cap better increase both massively and rapidly. Of course, no one knows what AR has in mind, or what his priorities are.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 30, 2017 at 08:27 am

Compliments on this analyze!

Most of the people here foget about cap space and that space in connection to FA market and availability of free high quality FA!

Also, I do not hear now comparation to Patriots and Tom Brady's contract. Is there possible reasonn why Patriots may sign more expensive FA agent (and, of course, more quality players)?

I can predict a lot of minuses ;-) (for me, not for you TGR)

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Since'61's picture

August 30, 2017 at 09:06 am

Reynoldo - great job on the cap breakdown. If you remember we went through a similar situation with Favre. The Packers ended up giving him a contract which guaranteed that he would remain the highest paid QB in the NFL so his salary was adjusted as other contracts higher than his were signed. They may take the same approach with AR. How much will be guaranteed is another question. While sports salaries have become ridiculous in general how do the Lions and Raiders justify their QB salaries for players who have literally done nothing in their careers? Stafford has yet to win a playoff game or an MVP award and the same is true for Carr, who is much younger then either Stafford or Rodgers. It shows how desperate teams are to retain good QB play because without it their teams and their games become unwatchable. This is why I'm confident that the Packers will get a deal done with Rodgers probably sometime in 2018. As I mentioned in my previous post, if Rodgers wins another SB (hopefully) and/or another MVP award in 2017 he and/or his agent can probably pick their own number. Rodgers should wait until after the season but TT should make his move now if he wants to conserve some cap space going forward. We'll see how it plays out, either way Rodgers salary is heading out of this universe just like his play has. Thanks, Since '61

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Big_Mel_75's picture

August 30, 2017 at 10:15 am

Or the money that Tannihill makes, how much Jay Cutler made in Chi town. Scam Newton, Kirt Cousins, Brock Oswillier. It is just insane what teams are paying for average QB play. Deep down inside I wish AR would keep his money the same and force TT to sign some defense players and build a great team so everything in our season doesn't rest on AR..

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Steve Cheez's picture

August 31, 2017 at 05:13 pm

a la Kevin Durant...

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GVPacker's picture

August 30, 2017 at 08:08 am

Nice Breakdown GreatReynoldo, thats impressive!

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