With the Packers sliding the announcement of the Aaron Rodgers contract extension into the late Friday afternoon pre-round two news dump, the transaction escaped full real-time scrutiny.
So here’s a little belated scrutiny.
While the deal indeed sounds impressive on the surface — five years, $110 million — the reality says more Rodgers’ selflessness than Tom Brady’s much-hyped “he took less!” deal said about his.
The $22 million annual average applies over the five years of the extension. That’s the new-money average. Tacking on the two years at $20 million that Rodgers was due to earn under his existing deal, it’s a seven-year, $130 million contract.
That’s an average of $18.5 million — well short of the $20.1 million high-water mark set by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco last month.
Rodgers’ decision to expose himself to the petty “whose is bigger?” comparisons reflects a pragmatism that will help the Packers remain competitive, if of course they’re willing to spend their cap money. Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Rodgers’ cap number never exceeds $21 million in any year of the contract. In contrast, Flacco’s deal has cap numbers of $28.55 million in 2016, $31.15 million in 2017, and $24.75 million in 2018.
And while Brady’s deal includes much lower base salaries as of 2015, the goal in extending his deal was to reduce his cap numbers in 2013 and 2014. The two sides will deal with 2015 when 2015 arrives.
Besides, Brady occupies a different phase of his career. Rodgers, who still has not turned 30, will ride this contract through the decade. And he’ll quite possibly earn and receive every penny of it.
Whether that’s $18.5 million per year or $20.1 million per year or $22 million per year or $50 million per year, Rodgers knows it’s enough, it’s fair, and it helps his team put enough players around him to keep the franchise competitive on a consistent basis.