Aaron Rodgers is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. He was given the league MVP as a result, and he absolutely deserved it. The Green Bay Packers are nothing without Rodgers. This is true. It is also true that Rodgers is holding the Packers back from winning the Super Bowl.
This has nothing to do with Rodgers on the field. Rather, his contract is a massive issue.
Aaron Rodgers Contract
If you’re wondering who has the highest 2021 salary cap hit in the entire NFL, look no further. Rodgers has a ridiculous $37,202,000 hit against the Packers cap, per Spotrac. This is $5.2 million higher than the second-largest cap hit (Russell Wilson). To put this number in different terms, Rodgers accounts for nearly 20% of the Packers total cap.
One of the easiest recipes to win in the NFL is to surround a talented quarterback on a rookie contract with playmakers. We saw how quickly this could work when somewhat recently the Seahawks and Eagles both won the Super Bowl. The Patriots have also taken this approach with a cheaper QB salary, which Tom Brady has brought to Tampa Bay.
Why does Brady continue to win Super Bowls? Is it because he is so unbelievably more talented than everyone else? Not even close. Brady has a cap hit of only $9,075,000 this season, which is the 20th-highest cap hit among quarterbacks. Again, Rodgers is getting four times this amount. It’s tough for the Packers to compete with teams who have quarterbacks willing to sacrifice money for teammates and championships.
Why Does This Matter?
That is a great question, and you may feel like Rodgers is getting paid what he is worth. I am not here to argue that in the slightest. Rather, if winning a Super Bowl is more important to Rodgers than money, then his current contract is not the way to go about doing so, clearly. Rodgers also doesn’t need to take a salary hit down to the level of Brady.
Let’s pretend Rodgers reconstructed his contract prior to NFL Free Agency so he had a $25 million cap hit in 2021. This is still nearly three times that of Brady, but ranking eighth among quarterbacks. More importantly, it would be a savings of $12.2 million.
If we assume the Packers signed players for the same exact contracts they inked (which is a big assumption, I know), then they could have gotten the following haul:
- CB William Jackson (2021 cap hit of $6.65M)
- DT Johnathan Hankins (2021 cap hit of $3.5M)
- RB Jamaal Williams (2021 cap hit of $1.63M)
There would be money leftover as well, and this still assumes Kevin King is re-signed, which he likely wouldn’t have been.
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Should Rodgers Take Less Money?
This is the ultimate question. From a fan’s point of view, it’s easy to say Rodgers should take a page out of Brady’s book and help the team go all in for a Super Bowl. However, it’s also easy to side with Rodgers.
Obviously, financial security is important. It’s pointless to argue that, since more money is always more ideal. The biggest reason to side with Rodgers in this argument is because the Packers organization is not siding with him. Time and time again the Packers front office seems more interested in winning the power battle with Rodgers than actually giving him what he wants/needs to win a Super Bowl.
It also appears this current Packers regime, who wants to leave their fingerprint on the organization, is in “love” with someone else. From the outside looking in, it does not appear Green Bay wants to commit to their MVP quarterback. Rodgers has said he wants to restructure his contract to give him security past this season. One could assume the extension would also lead to a lesser cap hit this season, yet the Packers could not work this out prior to free agency.
As recently as Tuesday, Mark Murphy was asked about the Aaron Rodgers contract restructure. Not only did he not want to comment on the restructure, he would not comment on committing to Rodgers long term. The Packers drafted Jordan Love for a reason, and it appears the Packers want to see him in the preseason before deciding on Rodgers’ future in Green Bay.
If you were Rodgers, would you take less money for an organization that has given you nothing but the cold shoulder? I wouldn’t, and that’s a shame. Overall, this situation has been handled terribly. The Packers front office either does not know what they’re doing or they have zero aspiration to win a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. Either way, they’re bad at their jobs.