Posted on July 6, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the best in the league. Many would say that he is the best. When he signed his last extension in 2013, the Packers made sure he knew how much they appreciated his work and thought of him. Nothing talks quite like a five-year, $110 million contract extension (with $44.5 million guaranteed at signing; $54 million in total guarantees).
But has he been worth it? They haven’t made it back to the Super Bowl. Yes, they made it to the NFC Championship game twice the last four years, but they lost both. When people call you the best, and you get paid a boatload of money, shouldn’t you be able to get your team back to the Promise Land (Super Bowl)?
An argument could be made for ‘yes, ’ but the reality of the situation in Green Bay is that Rodgers has been carrying the team. The running game has been inconsistent at best. It was so off last season there were games Rodgers was the team’s leading rusher.
Carrying the team? Really? Well—yes. He has been the driving force on offense, and he rarely puts the defense in a bad position with turnovers. In fact, he has been so good that he will likely become the 11th member of an exclusive club in the first or second game of the season.
Not only that, but he is going to redefine the ‘gold standard’ in the process.
After Rodgers throws his third touchdown pass of the season–against the Seattle Seahawks in Week One or the Atlanta Falcons in Week Two—he will become the 11th quarterback with 300 career touchdown passes.
The club includes the names of other greats like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Fran Tarkenton. But when Rodgers does it, he’ll jump to the head of the class because he’ll have done it like no one else.
He’ll be the first to do so without throwing 100 interceptions or more (currently has 72).
Manning leads the pack with 539 career touchdowns, but when he threw No. 300, he had 152 interceptions to his name. Favre had 175; Marino 169; Brees 154; Tarkenton 219. Tom Brady came the closest. When he threw No. 300, he had thrown 115 interceptions.
Other members of the club include (h/t PFT):
- Eli Manning—320 career touchdown passes; had 205 interceptions when he threw No. 300.
- Phillip Rivers—314 career touchdown passes; 146 interceptions when he threw No. 300.
- Ben Roethlisberger—301 career touchdown passes; 160 interceptions when he threw No. 300.
- John Elway—retired with 300 career touchdown passes and 226 interceptions
Whether he is the best in the business or not is a subjective call, but he is clearly among the upper echelon. When it comes time for his contract to be extended in a couple of years, he certainly deserves a healthy pay raise.
His 2017 salary is tied for sixth among quarterbacks with Ryan Tannehill and behind Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco. Of those five, only Ryan deserves to be mentioned in the same conversation as Rodgers.
With the expected growth of the salary cap and how Rodgers has played, he will overtake the highest paid player when he gets his new deal. Derek Carr currently owns the honor but he is expected to lose it soon.
If you listen to Rodgers’ agent, Joel Cory, his client could become the first $32 million man in the NFL (CBSSports):
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. 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.
With Rodgers has played, it will be hard for the Packers front office to argue the point. If they do, there are bound to be several teams that would jump at the chance to pay Rodgers.