As the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers continue to not make any obvious progress toward fixing a contract that desperately needs to be adjusted to reflect his status as the best quarterback in football (or, at very worst, second best — that should keep the Patriots fans from having a Saturday morning conniption), plenty of creative terms have been bandied about in order to protect him from further changes in the market.
Here’s the latest possible tweak to the deal, and arguably the least likely to ever happen: Mike Garafolo of NFL Media recently reported that Rodgers wants “some sort of out clause” that would allow him to renegotiate the deal if/when (when) it’s leapfrogged by other quarterbacks.
Under his current deal, which had a new-money average of $22 million per year when signed in 2013, Rodgers has seen in less than two years a parade of lesser quarterbacks leave him in the dust, as the baton of highest-paid quarterback has hot potato’ed from Andrew Luck to Derek Carr to Matthew Stafford to Jimmy Garoppolo to Kirk Cousins to Matt Ryan, who has a new-money average of $30 million per year.
Whatever Rodgers gets on his next deal, someone eventually will pass him by. Surely, the Packers won’t agree to let Rodgers’ contract expire on the spot, forcing them to pay him more or to risk losing him.
It could be that Rodgers has decided to ask for something that aggressive in order to get the Packers to offer a term that would be more realistic. Multiple players have tried in recent years to tie their compensation to a percentage of the salary cap, with any future increases in the total available dollars reflected by commensurate increases in the dollars paid to the player. Rodgers also could ask for a provision that ensures he’ll always be the highest-paid quarterback by requiring his contract to immediately match the annual average of the contract given to anyone who achieves a new high-water mark.
However it plays out, the Packers have no reason to give Rodgers a ticket to the open market whenever someone makes more money than him. And if Rodgers insists on that, the Packers need to simply say to him, “You’re under contract for two more years, and we will tag you for the next two years after that.”
And that’s really the lesson for all quarterbacks to learn, as a result of the Rodgers deal from 2013. When committing for seven years, the market will at some point pass you by. So, you know, don’t commit for seven years.