GREEN BAY - While Green Bay Packers fans await word on a contract extension for Aaron Rodgers — which team officials have been saying they expect to come soon — the ongoing saga has taken another twist.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that Rodgers would like some sort of out clause in an extension that would allow him to renegotiate a new deal should he again be surpassed as the NFL's highest-paid quarterback.
Ian Rapoport, Garafolo's colleague at NFL Network, stoked the fires of the report Saturday:
However, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports pointed out, the Packers have little incentive to agree to such terms, given that he's under contract for two more seasons and subject to the franchise tag for two seasons after that:
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk chimed in on the matter, noting that whatever Rodgers gets in his new deal is certain to be leap-frogged by another quarterback eventually.
Surely, the Packers won’t agree to let Rodgers’ contract expire on the spot, forcing them to pay him more or to risk losing him.
It could be that Rodgers has decided to ask for something that aggressive in order to get the Packers to offer a term that would be more realistic. Multiple players have tried in recent years to tie their compensation to a percentage of the salary cap, with any future increases in the total available dollars reflected by commensurate increases in the dollars paid to the player. Rodgers also could ask for a provision that ensures he’ll always be the highest-paid quarterback by requiring his contract to immediately match the annual average of the contract given to anyone who achieves a new high-water mark.
However it plays out, the Packers have no reason to give Rodgers a ticket to the open market whenever someone makes more money than him.
Matt Ryan became the NFL’s first $30 million a year player when the Atlanta Falcons extended his contract in early May. Following on the heels of the Minnesota Vikings giving Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract in March, it cleared the decks for Rodgers to assume his place at the top of the QB salary list.
Rodgers is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $110 million contract extension he signed April 26, 2013. He is scheduled to make a base salary of $19.8 million this year and $20 million in 2019. He has per-game roster bonuses each year worth a maximum of $600,000 and workout bonuses of $500,000.
Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com wrote after Ryan's deal that "the best guess is that Rodgers’ impending contract extension will average between $31 million and $32 million in new money to Ryan’s $30 million, and include a full guarantee in the $110 million range, which would top Ryan’s $100 million guarantee."
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said in early May that he thought the Rodgers’ deal could get done soon.
“We’re pretty confident that this is something that’s taking its normal course, its normal time,” Gutekunst told ProFootballTalk Live.