When the inevitable comparisons happen in July between no-name NBA players who make millions more as free agents than star players in the NFL, one star player in the NFL will have a unique perspective on the issue.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has become one of the owners of one of the teams that will be giving those huge contracts to mid-level pro basketball players. Specifically, Rodgers has become a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I have proudly called Wisconsin my home for the past 13 years, and I am thankful for the friendships and the opportunities I have been given to live and play here,” Rodgers in a statement released by the Bucks, via ESPN.com. “I am excited and honored to deepen my connection to the region by joining Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan, Mike Fascitelli and the ownership group of the Milwaukee Bucks. As a huge fan of the NBA and the sport of basketball, this is a dream come true for me, and I look forward to furthering my affinity for Wisconsin sports as a minority owner in a team I love and support.”
At a time when friction reportedly has emerged between Rodgers and Wisconsin’s only NFL team, his decision to buy a piece of Wisconsin’s only NBA team coupled with a statement in which he reconfirms his commitment to Wisconsin makes it clear that, if he ever leaves the Packers, it won’t be his decision.
The comments also could get more Packers fans behind Rodgers in the slowly-simmering back-and-forth that ultimately flows from the team’s failure to address a contract that has Rodgers woefully underpaid in comparison to other quarterbacks — specifically in his own division, where Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins makes $28 million per year and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford earns $27 million annually. Rodgers, at $22 million per year, has accomplished more than both of them, combined.
Indeed, Cousins and Stafford have combined for zero career postseason wins.
While this transaction likely won’t be the catalyst for Rodgers getting the $30 million per year that he deserves, it’s definitely a factor to consider at a time when player and team occupy an awkward posture as he enters the final years of his career. If he ends up finishing that career elsewhere, he’s doing what he can to make it very difficult for any Packers fans to blame him for it.