Two weeks ago, the Colts made quarterback Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL.
He’s the same Andrew Luck who missed most of last season due to injury. The same Andrew Luck who freely admits that, when he did play last year, he didn’t play well.
The same Andrew Luck who has never been to a Super Bowl, much less won one. The same Andrew Luck who has never been named league MVP.
The same Andrew Luck who finished No. 92 in the (deeply flawed, but what the hey?) top 100 list voted on by some (we just don’t know how many) of the league’s players.
While the Colts had every reason to give Luck a six-year, $139.25 million deal with $87 million guaranteed for injury at signing (indeed, Luck could/should have gotten even more), the facts outlined above could be regarded as relevant by a player who has a Super Bowl MVP award and not one but two league MVP awards — and who currently is making a lot less than Luck.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will earn $12.6 million this year, assuming he is on the 45-man roster every week and cashes in on a $600,000 per-game roster bonus. While Rodgers already has received plenty of cash under his three-year-old deal (including a $35 million signing bonus), the “new money” average of the contract he signed sits at $22 million; Luck is north of $24 million.
Compounding the problem for Rodgers is he’s under contract for four more years, with a total payout of $68.25 million (an average of $17 million per year). So the safe guess would be that the so-sensitive-he’s-sensitive-about-being-called-sensitive Rodgers is keenly aware of the disparity between Luck’s deal and his. and that Rodgers isn’t thrilled about it.
After all, it’s one thing for guys like Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, and/or Drew Brees to approach or surpass Rodgers’ deal. They’ve all won Super Bowls. Luck, in comparison to Rodgers and the rest of those at the top of the quarterback market, has done nothing.
Sure, Luck and the Colts beat Rodgers the only time the two teams met, back in 2012. When they get together on November 6 for a late-afternoon game at Lambeau Field, Rodgers will surely have extra motivation to show everyone that he’s in a different class than the quarterback who’s in a different pay scale than Rodgers.
The real question is whether Rodgers will request an adjustment to his deal, either before or after blowing out Luck and the Colts in fewer than four months. While the Packers have no obligation to do so, it’s important to keep the most important player on the field happy.
Chances are he’s not happy — especially since (soapbox issue alert) his current deal didn’t protect him against the spikes in the salary cap that have happened since he signed his last contract by, for example, tying his salary to a percentage of the cap. For the Packers, relying on the (supposedly) unexpected growth of the cap would become the easiest way to explain tearing up the last four years of the contract and giving Rodgers an adjustment.
Actually, the easiest way to explain it would be to say, “Andrew Luck has accomplished nothing. Aaron Rodgers has accomplished everything. He should be the highest-paid player in football.”