INDIANAPOLIS – The good part of having Aaron Rodgers is building a team around one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. The bad part, if there is one, is you have to pay him.
Nobody is feeling bad for the Green Bay Packers, but they find themselves in an escalating quarterback market with a quarterback who could command the biggest contract in NFL history. If Jimmy Garoppolo, after seven career starts, is worth $27.5 million per year and many feel Kirk Cousins will get even more than that, what’s Rodgers worth?
“We have the best player in the National Football League, and it’s not going to be inexpensive,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said.
Rodgers has two years left on his deal, which now looks like a bargain at $22 million per year. The Packers want to get an extension done this offseason, to avoid a situation in which Rodgers is going into the final year of his deal.
“We would like it to [be finalized this offseason],” Gutekunst said.
Imagine being Gutekunst, a first-time general manager taking over for Ted Thompson, and managing a salary cap with a potentially record-setting deal about to be signed. It’s a challenge, especially with other players like receiver Davante Adams having just signed a large extension. ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky said Wednesday that the Packers have already started talks with Rodgers’ representatives.
It remains to be seen if Rodgers will force the Packers to pay him more than Cousins, or what Garoppolo or others like Derek Carr and Matthew Stafford have already received. Last June, Rodgers told Packers reporters, “I know my value in this league and I know the team appreciates me.” His last deal, at $110 million over five years, was a record-setter, but he’s now relatively underpaid for where he stands among the league’s quarterbacks.
“Obviously, we signed the last deal knowing that it was a good deal for both sides,” Rodgers said last June. “If you look at some of the cap numbers around the league with guys who signed in similar time periods, the percentage of the cap was notably higher than my deal. You obviously keep that in mind.”
With each contract that gets signed by quarterbacks like Cousins or even Case Keenum, Rodgers’ negotiating power grows. That has to be another reason why the Packers want the deal done soon, though Gutekunst said seeing other quarterbacks sign contracts doesn’t factor into the urgency.
“I don’t know if there’s pressure,” Gutekunst said. “I think we certainly would like to get it done earlier rather than later, but not for those reasons.”
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