26

April

Packers News: Aaron Rodgers signs contract extension

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

According to the team’s official website, the Packers have signed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a multi-year contract extension.

The move was announced Friday by Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Rodgers is now the highest paid player in league history after signing a five-year extension worth $110 million. Reports are that the contract calls for Rodgers to be paid 40 million in the first year and 62.5 million in the first three years (500K more than Joe Flacco). His salary cap number will never exceed 21M.

“Aaron is a true professional and a special player,” Thompson said, per Packers.com. “He works hard, is humble, and is focused on his actions, on and off the field. He is an excellent teammate and pushes himself and others to be the very best. We are happy to reach an agreement to extend his career with the Packers.”

Rodgers had two years remaining on his previous deal, but the new contract will keep him in Green Bay for the foreseeable future.

Thompson spent his first draft pick as Packers general manager on Rodgers, the No. 24 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. After sitting behind Brett Favre for three years, Rodgers took over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008.

In his first season as the starter, Rodgers threw for 4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 93.8 passer rating was the lowest of his career, as he’s posted a rating of at least 101.2 in each of the past four seasons.

Widely regarded as the best quarterback in the league today, Rodgers was the MVP of Super Bowl XLV. He was named league MVP for the 2011 season.

When the Favre retirement fiasco went down in the summer of 2008, some fans were heckling Rodgers in hopes of the team bringing Favre back for another season. But Thompson and Mike McCarthy stood firm in their decision and remained fully committed to Rodgers.

And the rest is history.

During the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, Rodgers tweeted to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, “Good things come to those who wait.” It appears Rodgers was absolutely right.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

4

April

When will deals get done for Rodgers, Matthews and Raji?

Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews

Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews

Through free agency, Ted Thompson’s Green Bay Packers have been Ted Thompson’s Green Bay Packers. Deafeningly quiet.

But in the coming weeks, the Packers will look to lock up their two most important players—Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers are closer to a deal with Matthews than they are with Rodgers. But ideally, the team would extend both contracts before offseason workouts being April 15.

Packers beat writer Wes Hodkiewicz joined me and PackersTalk.com contributor Jacob Westendorf Wednesday to talk about the team’s impending contract extensions.

“Rodgers is going to be the highest paid quarterback in NFL history,” Hodkiewicz said. “I think that’s all but established. It’s just a matter of when they’re going to get that done.”

ESPN insider Adam Schefter suggested that Matthews is expected to get about $13 million per year on his new contract. Hodkiewicz says Rodgers should receive a contract worth between $22-25 million per season.

So with over $30 million potentially being tied up into two players, B.J. Raji could find himself in an interesting position.

After being selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Raji has been moved around the team’s defensive line. He enjoyed perhaps his best season in 2010, racking up 6.5 sacks before being named to his first Pro Bowl a year later.

But Rodgers and Matthews are clearly the Packers’ top two long-term priorities, leaving Raji’s future in question.

Rodgers, Matthews and Raji are each represented by David Dunn. Having the same agent could make it easier to fit all three players’ new contracts in the payroll.

And Hodkiewicz expects the team to reach an agreement with Raji as well.

“Ryan Pickett was one of their top guys in salary, and he’s going to come off the books next season,” Hodkiewicz said. “With Pickett coming off the books, that opens some cap space to invest into Raji.”

Just how much money Raji will get in his extension is up for debate. Teams that run a 4-3 defensive scheme may be willing to pay Raji more, as 4-3 defensive tackles are generally counted on to make more “impact plays” than linemen in a 3-4.

“There’s a good chance that all three of those guys are locked up going into next year.”

5

September

Greg Jennings And His Contract: The Sky is Not Falling

Greg Jennings

Could Greg Jennings be putting a different team on his back in 2013? Not likely.

The 2012 NFL season literally just got underway and already some Green Bay Packer fans are thinking about the 2013 offseason.

Thanks to some recent comments by free agent-to-be Greg Jennings and his MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers,  it’s becoming clear that Jennings could be playing the 2013 season in a uniform other than the Green and Gold.

First, here is what Jennings had to say on the matter on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning:

“I definitely want to be here, but understanding the nature of the business, you never know. There is really nothing else I can really say or do. The ball is not in my court at all. I have to play the cards that I’m dealt. Right now it’s football. That’s my focus.”

This really isn’t a cause for panic nor is it really any different than what he has said in the past.  Jennings has maintained all along he wants to remain a Green Bay Packer.  This mindset is the best for the Packers if this indeed truly Jennings’ mindset right now.

What Rodgers had to say, however, probably raised more than a few eyebrows.  Here’s what he told ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde on his weekly radio show on ESPN 540:

“I think you have to be realistic about it and think that it might be. I have loved my time with Greg. Greg and I are going to be buddies whether he’s here or not.”

The fact that Rodgers used “loved” vs. “love” is likely what has caught everyone’s attention.  Knowing that the Packers will very soon be faced with resigning Jennings, Rodgers, Clay Matthews and BJ Raji, as well as a possible pay raise for Jordy Nelson there seems to be a thought that thanks to these recent remarks there’s a good chance #85 will be elsewhere next year.

Folks, relax. While I am not inside the heads of Ted Thompson and Russ Ball, I would be willing to bet that Jennings isn’t going anywhere outside the state of Wisconsin.

Jennings’ recent comments are part of the all too familiar part of contract negotiations called “posturing.” Jennings (or more accurately, his agent) is publicly conveying the message that while he wants to remain in Green Bay, he is prepared to move on.  This is designed to force the team to sweeten its deal under the threat of one of its star players moving on.

17

July

Brees’ New Deal: The Impact on Aaron Rodgers And The Packers

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees

Two quarterbacks, two rings and a whole lot of money

When the Green Bay Packers play the New Orleans Saints on September 30 at Lambeau Field, Aaron Rodgers needs to find Drew Brees and give him a big hug because Brees has just made a Rodgers a very rich man.

Last week Brees signed a five-year deal worth $100 million, with $40 million guaranteed for 2012 alone and $60 million guaranteed overall.  This all but ensures Brees will be a New Orleans Saint for life (though stranger things have happened, right Peyton?).

Meanwhile, Rodgers mentioned earlier in the offseason that he wanted to remain a Packer for the rest of his career.  Rodgers is under contract through 2014 with a base salary of $8 million for 2012, $9.25 for 2013 and $10.25 million for 2014 respectively.  By Brees’ standards, these are paltry numbers especially for the player ranked number one over Brees as the best player in the NFL as voted by players themselves.

Keep in mind Rodgers signed his current contract in 2008, only one year into his tenure as the Packers starting quarterback.  Rodgers showed potential despite the team’s 6-10 record, but he had not yet fully developed into the superstar we know and love today.  With his performance in 2010 and 2011, Rodgers is a relative steal at his current salary.

That’s why it’s a given Rodgers is in for one heck of a raise even without Brees’ new contract raising the bar as much as it has.  So what effect will the contract the Saints just handed to their quarterback have on Rodgers and the Packers?

Well, there are some things to keep in perspective here.  Rodgers is 28, Brees is 33.  Rodgers will likely sign two more contracts before retirement while this is very possibly the last one Brees will sign.  Even if the Packers sign Rodgers to seven year deal, he would only be 35 at the time and will likely still have more left in the tank.  Peyton Manning signed a five year deal with the Broncos which would put him at 41, though it’s unclear if Manning will actually play all five years with the uncertainty of his neck injury.