Packers Sign Aaron Rodgers to Record Contract Extension
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that All Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers has agreed to a record-breaking contract extension with the Green Bay Packers. Per Schefter, Rodgers is set to put pen to paper on a new 4-year deal worth a whopping $134 million, with incentives that could eventually take the total amount owed to the quarterback all the way up to $180 million.
The new contract will run through the 2023 season, which will be Rodgers’ age-40 campaign. The deal reportedly includes about $103 million in guaranteed money with an average annual value just south of $34 million. The deal can earn Rodgers as much as $180 million, with about $4 million annually in the deal if the Packers make it to the playoffs. Rodgers would also have to finish in the top-3 in the league in quarterback rating in order for the incentives to kick in.
It sounds as though Rodgers was interested in making as much money early in the contract as he possibly could. That was apparently a sticking point for the player in negotiations, and he ultimately got his wish. Rodgers will have banked $67 million via the new contract by the end of the calendar year 2018, with another $13 million coming before St. Patrick’s Day of 2019.
Negotiations between Rodgers’ camp and the Packers’ brass have reportedly been ongoing steadily since the draft combine back in March. When asked about the potential deal while he was at the combine, the team’s new general manager, Brian Gutekunst, said he expected to strike a deal with the team’s franchise player before the beginning of the 2018 season.
A number of quarterbacks were signed to hefty deals over the last few months, but the Rodgers deal will once again make him the NFL’s highest-paid player. Rodgers’ average annual earnings will surpass those of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who inked a deal that will pay him $30 million a year back in May. Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers that will pay him over $27 million per year in February, while Kirk Cousins signed for about $28 million per year with the Minnesota Vikings a month later.
Rodgers’ last contract was a 5-year extension worth $110 million that included a $35 million signing bonus and $54 million in guarantees. That contract made Rodgers the highest-paid player in the NFL at the time, as he was earning about $22 million per season. That deal surpassed the contract that had been signed by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who became the league’s highest-paid player after surprisingly leading the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XLVII.
Rodgers was just the ninth-highest-paid player in the league until signing his new extension this week. The Packers had their quarterback under contract for two more seasons under the original deal that would have paid him about $21 million per year.
Rodgers, 34, has said in the past that he would like to play into his 40s, a la Tom Brady and his predecessor in Green Bay, Brett Favre. The upcoming campaign will be Rodgers’ 14th as a pro, though he spent the first 3 seasons on the bench behind Favre. Rodgers also said earlier in the year that he would “love” to finish his career as a Packer.
He said, “Every player would love to be able to pick when and how they finish up. That usually doesn’t happen, though. So I’m going to try to play as well as I can for a number of years, and hopefully it’s here the entire time.”
The Packers evidently aren’t worried about injuries negatively affecting Rodgers’ longevity. Rodgers has unfortunately suffered a couple of major injuries over the last several years, including a broken collarbone last season that cost him the majority of the campaign. He broke his other collarbone back in 2013. After suffering the injury the first time, however, Rodgers came back the next season and won the league’s MVP award.
Paying Rodgers what he’s worth while also keeping enough financial flexibility to build a winning roster around him will certainly be a challenge for the Packers, but they have enjoyed quite a bit of success since he took over for Favre several years ago. Rodgers has an overall regular season record of 94-48 as the starter for the Packers. Green Bay has missed the playoffs in each of the last 2 years, which snapped a string of 8 consecutive seasons with a playoff berth. Rodgers also won Super Bowl MVP after leading the Packers to a 31-25 win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV back in 2011.
Regarding his contract situation, Rodgers recently said, “Like the last time, although it was large financial numbers, it was a deal that myself and the team was happy with. It gave us the ability to do some things and made my cap number never go above an unmanageable level. So, obviously, I want to finish my career here. I’ve said that a number of times and still have two years left on my deal, so we’ll see what happens this offseason.”
Rodgers will likely sit out the Packers’ final preseason game later this week against the Kansas City Chiefs in order to prepare for the team’s Week 1 clash against the Chicago Bears. The Packers will take on the Bears on Sunday Night Football from Lambeau Field on September 9.
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