One of the hardest things for the average fan to comprehend is how NFL contracts work and how they apply to a team’s salary cap. There are many complicated elements, rules, and exceptions that can be hard to sort out. In this series, my goal is to help you better understand how this whole system works, plus what it means to the Green Bay Packers’ current salary cap and contract concerns.
Before reading, make sure to check out the previous article(s) in the series:
- Part 1: An Introduction to the Basics
- Part 2: A.J. Hawk and Contract Restructuring
- Part 3: Jermichael Finley and the Two-Year Deal
- Part 4: Clay Matthews and Incentives
- Part 5: B.J. Raji and the Escalator
Our sixth and final article focuses on Aaron Rodgers and the “big contract.” Ted Thompson has been preparing for this moment for a long time now, and we’re going to attempt to scratch through the surface of this major negotiation.
Across this series, we’ve talked about a lot of things concerning NFL player contracts and the salary cap. Now is when the rubber meets the road, though, and we try to put this knowledge to use. I’m also going to introduce a few new things that will keep it interesting, such as general cap economics and the concept of “option bonuses.” Fair warning: there is going to be a lot to digest here.
First and foremost, we have to understand why Aaron Rodgers needs a new deal – and soon. Here is how his current contract looks:
This is the extension he signed in 2008, which was the first year he started after Brett Favre left. It was a very smart move by Ted Thompson, not only because it locked up their new franchise quarterback, but also because it meant very little for the Packers in the way of financial demands. After 2009, Thompson could have cut Rodgers with no dead money to worry about.
At this point, going into the contract’s sixth year, the Green Bay Packers need to give Aaron Rodgers a new deal. He is clearly the franchise’s number one quarterback for as long as he can play; plus, he won them a Super Bowl title in 2010 and earned the title of NFL MVP in 2011.