Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers just happens to be in the middle of a contract negotiation. And he just happens to have bought a minority stake in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks this offseason.
So bringing those two worlds together, he likes the idea of the NFL eventually adopting the NBA’s “soft cap” approach to accounting.
Unlike the NFL, NBA teams can exceed the cap if they’re willing to pay a luxury tax, and Rodgers sees the NFL’s revenue increases as allowing a similar method.
“We have sort of a tough situation,” Rodgers told Kevin Clark of The Ringer. “I think one thing you could definitely look at that would influence the way contracts are done is a hard cap versus a non-hard cap—like the NBA, where there’s a cap, then there’s luxury tax. . . .
“I would allow teams to go over the cap knowing if they do, since there’s not a hard cap, they are going to be faced with some luxury tax issues and they’d change their strategy. It’s not like we’re hurting—just like the NBA, we’re not hurting for revenue. We’re doing excellent in the NFL and the NBA is doing fantastic as well.”
Rodgers had a number of other suggestions which borrowed from the NBA’s financial plan, including a version of the mid-level exception, which he thinks could provide some security to veteran players. (There’s already the veteran minimum benefit, which allows teams to get a cap break for signing older players to one-year deals, but the NBA’s mid-level was $8.4 million last year, so there’s a big difference there.)
The Packers quarterback would also do away with the franchise tags.
“Because I think that gives the team a lot of power over your future, and they can tag you a couple of times,” he said. “That, obviously, restricts player movement. . . .
“I think if you didn’t have it, it would encourage teams to get deals done earlier and in the long run it actually might save them money. Because you’re doing a guy’s deal a year before he’s ready to play, especially young guys. Maybe they get him for cheap and, if he has a huge season his last year, cheaper than they would have gotten him after that season, if you sign him early.”
Of course, NFL owners are probably in no hurry to adopt any of Rodgers’ suggestions, since they’re making money at a high rate as things stand. But as it pertains to his own negotiation with the Packers, it serves as an insight to his mindset, as he’s been reported to be looking for some creative structures in his next deal.