Rodgers has, for the first time since signing a new deal four years ago, acknowledged that it’s time for a new contract.
He made the comments on the radio with Jason Wilde and Mark Tauscher of ESPN Wisconsin. The most relevant sound bite emerged regarding the news that quarterback Mike Glennon could soon cash in during free agency.
Asked whether that should result in contract talks for Rodgers, he said, “I think it has to.”
Contract talks for Rodgers already are long overdue. Last July, after Colts quarterback Andrew Luck became the highest-paid player in league history, I made the case for Rodgers getting a new deal. After Rodgers led the Packers from 4-6 to the NFC title game, I made the argument once again that Rodgers should be getting more than $25 million per year.
Actually, he should be getting $30 million per year, based on the increases in the cap since the last time he signed a new contract. Since 2013, the cap has rocketed from $123 million to $167 million.
The problem for Rodgers is that he already has signed a contract that runs through 2019. He’ll make $13.65 million this year, $20.9 million next year, and $21.1 million in 2019. If the team chooses to take a hard line, he’ll have to ask himself whether he’s willing to withhold services during the voluntary portions of the offseason program and/or during mandatory minicamp and training camp in order to get what he wants.
The Packers hopefully are smart enough to realize that, given the spike in the cap, Rodgers is worth far more than he’s getting. Still, the biggest lesson flowing from Rodgers’ current predicament is that the league’s best players need to start insisting on compensation tied to a percentage of the cap. Franchise tags currently are calculated on that basis. Why shouldn’t the total salary of a given player (especially a great player like Rodgers) be tied to how much money the team has available to spend?
Others have tried, beginning with Darrelle Revis in 2010. No one has agreed to do it, yet. The refusal possibly flows from the mandates of the Management Council to the various team. (That would be impermissible collusion, but good luck proving it.)
Regardless, Rodgers deserves more than he’s getting. Especially if Glennon (who is represented by the same firm that represents Rodgers) ends up getting $15 million or something close to it in the coming days.