Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Mike Vandermause column: Rodgers worth top dollar

Feb. 9, 2013
 
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) against the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

It’s not often that someone making nearly $10 million per year is vastly underpaid, but Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers falls in that category.

Rodgers will earn $9.75 million in 2013, which is less than half of what the highest paid quarterbacks in the National Football League make.

Average working stiffs like you and I might have trouble relating to astronomical numbers like that, but Rodgers’ level of compensation is embarrassingly low for someone with his star power.

If Rodgers isn’t the best quarterback in the NFL, he’s in the top-3. And it’s time the Packers adequately pay him what he’s worth.

The going rate for top NFL quarterbacks these days is around $20 million per year, based on the 2013 salary cap numbers of Tom Brady ($21.8 million), Eli Manning ($20.85 million), Peyton Manning ($20 million) and Ben Roethlisberger ($19.6 million).

Sure, the Packers could make Rodgers play out his current contract, which runs through the 2014 season. But that’s not how to treat the most valuable player on the team, the person who will keep the Packers in Super Bowl contention for years to come.

Rodgers has expressed no dissatisfaction with his current contract and hasn’t complained about the pace of talks on a new deal. That is exactly how someone with Rodgers’ public relations savvy should play it.

“The team, when they’re ready to talk contracts, we’ll get there when we get there,” said Rodgers on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show this past week. “Obviously, you have to be able to have guys around you to compete and win every year, and we’ll see what happens with some of the free agents we have. When that time comes, we’ll get a deal done. I’m not worried about that. I think the Packers want to keep me around for a little while longer and I’d love to be a Packer for life.”

Of course the Packers want the 29-year-old Rodgers around for the rest of the decade and beyond, and they would be wise to take a pro-active approach in locking up their franchise player with a big-money deal.

The longer the Packers wait, the higher the price tag soars.

If the Packers fiddle around until Rodgers’ current contract expires, the cost of signing him would likely rise to between $25 million and $30 million per season.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson surely knows this. He also has been around long enough to realize it’s not worth alienating his best player.

The Packers can send a strong message to current and future players that they will pay top dollar for top talent. This is no time to pinch pennies when you’re negotiating with one of the NFL’s elite players.

“I'm not going to talk about any specifics or individuals but again our job is to identify those core players and do the best we can of trying to keep ’em as Green Bay Packers,” Thompson told me late last summer when asked about upcoming big-money contracts that included Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.

“How you do that, there's no set pattern. But our philosophy is to try to do that in advance. We think it's a good policy. It's a good thing for the player. We think it's a good thing for the club.”

The contracts of Matthews and Raji will expire after the 2013 season, so they must be addressed soon. But Rodgers should take top priority because he’s the Packers’ best player.

It would be prudent to get a new deal in place this offseason. If Packers contract negotiator Russ Ball isn’t already burning the midnight oil in an attempt to hammer out a new contract, he should be.

Several less talented quarterbacks than Rodgers are scheduled to make significantly more money next season, including Matthew Stafford ($20.8 million salary cap number), Philip Rivers ($17.1 million), Tony Romo ($16.8 million), Michael Vick ($16.9 million), Carson Palmer ($15.335 million) and Mark Sanchez ($12.853 million).

The argument that Rodgers must wait his turn and be forced to live with the contract he signed in 2008 doesn’t make sense. Perhaps that can be used against a less prominent starter on the roster. But in the case of the Packers’ most important player, there can be no equivocating.

The Packers need to show Rodgers the money he deserves, the sooner the better.

mvandermause@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @MikeVandermause.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
576 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1018 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1272 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports

ORDER YOURS

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports