The unresolved contract situation involving Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was more of a symptom than a root cause of the lingering problems between player and team. However, the two parties had been negotiating a new deal.
This implies that negotiations could have resulted in a new contract. Which also implies that, if an agreement could have been reached that ties Rodgers to the Packers for the next three years or longer, then everything could have been resolved.
The fact that the two sides have reached an impasse has taken the situation to Defcon 1. If a contactual impasse hadn’t been reached, logic suggests that Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t want out.
So what would it have taken to get a deal done? At a minimum, Rodgers wanted to shatter the year-to-year flexibility that the Packers currently possess. Whether it’s a two- or a three-year thing, Rodgers hoped for something that would have removed the uncertainty that necessarily flows from the presence of Jordan Love.
But it’s more than security and commitment. Money has something to do with it, too. And not just for money’s sake. At a time when Rodgers has felt chronically disrespected by the front office, the front office had a way to show him respect.
You show him respect by taking his current contract, which carries a new-money average of $33.5 million (same as Jared Goff and Carson Wentz) and you increase it. Significantly.
How significantly? Well, Rodgers was the best player in the NFL last year. And the highest paid player in the NFL makes $45 million per year. And a league source tells PFT that, at one point during the talks, Rodgers’ representatives asked for Rodgers to be the highest-paid player in football.
Pandemic, schmandemic. The Packers enjoyed record revenues in their most recently completed fiscal year, generating $70 million in raw profit for a team with no owner to use it to buy super-yacht. With no owner, the most important person in the entire corporation was been, and still is, Rodgers. And if he believes he’s been disrespected (most notably by the selection of Jordan Love in round one a year ago), what better way to command respect than to demand Patrick Mahomes money, plus at least one dollar?
Yes, Rodgers always has agreed to ultra-long extensions when he could have played it like Kirk Cousins or Dak Prescott, declining offers, forcing franchise tags, and ultimately squeezing top dollar. Regardless, Rodgers is squeezing now. The fact that it didn’t work at the bargaining table means that the squeezing will have to happen elsewhere.
And it is, even if he has yet to admit that it is.