Aaron Rodgers on contract extension: 'I'm not trying to screw' the Packers
Rodgers is the next quarterback in line for an extension after Matt Ryan's record-setting deal
Aaron Rodgers is the most talented quarterback in all of football. The Packers have said they want to give him an extension soon. And the way contracts work in the NFL all but guarantees Rodgers' new deal will make him the league's highest-paid player.
What's taking so long then?
During a recent interview with ESPN Radio's "Wilde and Tausch," Rodgers made it clear that he's not out to "screw" over the team during negotiations.
"I'm not trying to screw them, you know," Rodgers said, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "This is a partnership. That's the only way this is going to work, and the best way things work in this situation is that we're in this thing together. And if they make that financial commitment, that's what they're saying, and also there's an expectation that you're going to play well. And then that's my side of the bargain."
Rodgers has two more years to go until his current contract expires. During the 2018 season, he'll bring in about $20.56 million and in 2019, he'll earn $21.1 million, according to Spotrac. Meanwhile, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan just while 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is .
So Rodgers -- a better player than both of those quarterbacks -- is due for a raise. That being said, he pointed out that he has a history of helping the team manage the cap.
"If you ask the team about the last deal we did, and you ask me, both sides are happy, right?" Rodgers said. "They paid me a lot of money, and they never had a major salary-cap year. A year that other quarterbacks have had -- [Drew] Brees has had, [Joe] Flacco's had, and these guys here you have $28, $29, $30 million against the cap. Right? That's never happened with my contract. So in both our opinions, we've been able to still add guys to the mix and have a competitive team. And from my standpoint, they paid me a ton of money. And I'm super extremely financially blessed and very happy."
What's the hold-up then? It-- something the team likely wouldn't want to give Rodgers. As CBS Sports' Joel Corry, a former sports agent, explained last month,
Almost exactly a month ago, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported that "no meaningful progress has been made" between the two sides. And it makes sense why the Packers wouldn't want to give in to Rodgers' demands. They have Rodgers under contract for two more seasons at an absolute discount. When that contract expires, they'll be able to use the franchise tag to keep him around for another season or two. And then Rodgers would be looking at a situation where he's hitting free agency in his late 30s.
The Packers have all the leverage in this situation, as Corry explained below:
Green Bay can control his rights over the next four seasons by paying him slightly more than $107 million, where he plays out his contract and is designated as a franchise player twice. Rodgers wouldn't get his first chance to potentially hit the open market until 2022 as a 38 year old.
A conventional deal (without an opt-out clause) would probably be in the $32 to $33 million-per-year neighborhood. Whether Rodgers would eclipse Ryan's guarantees marks would be debatable considering Packers contracts typically have a vanilla structure. The guarantees are usually less than comparable deals on other teams but an exception has been routinely made for Rodgers.
Rodgers, unless he's willing to hold out, has no leverage. And Rodgers doesn't sound like he's willing to go down that path.
"Obviously, it's important to me," he said. "Obviously, I'd love to finish my career here. But I'm busy right now. I'm being a leader on this team. I'm focused on being the leader of the team. And if nothing gets done, it won't change anything. Because all I'm worried about right now is playing ball."
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