In a week for the Packers that ended with a not so important 13-6 loss to the Oakland Raiders, most of the attention is being focused on the players fighting for the last couple of roster spots available on the team. At least a few of these players will end up playing a noticeable role on the team when injuries inevitably strike, which makes it an important discussion. However, another important storyline is still playing out behind the scenes: Aaron Rodgers contract extension.
This is something that I wrote about over five months ago and yet it still hasn’t concluded. The biggest reasons for that are probably because the amount of money being discussed is so large and also because there is no rush. Rodgers still has another two years left on his contract which is more than enough time to work out the kinks in the deal. Nevertheless, this seems to be an excessive amount of time needed to get this deal done. If they were seriously discussing the deal way back in March, then it should be concluded by now any reasonable person would assume.
It seems logical that something must be impeding the progress of this deal and holding it up from further progression. This isn’t a gossip publication and I’m not interested in speculating what that could be without any proof of said disruption. What I will say is that this is just bad business from Rodgers’ team.
Now Rodgers clearly stated that he’s not directly negotiating with the Packers, and that it’s being done by his agent David Dunn. His focus as he says is, “being a leader on this team”. As the leader of the team, shouldn’t he be setting a good example for his teammates on how to make a good deal without creating noise about it? Never mind the fact that two professionals, who we assume are at least competent, cannot complete a deal within five months of working on it. That seems to speak to something holding up the process rather than just working out the detail
Again, I don’t have any answers to this, but it’s obvious that if Rodgers, or his agent, were asking for less money the deal would be done by now. If that’s what is holding them back, then it’s unfortunate to see the face of the franchise exhibiting those traits. Trust me, I totally understand the whole argument of how players are actually somewhat underpaid compared to how much the league makes and so on and so forth. But this is the reality of the league and while getting paid what your worth is what some might consider to be smart and fair I disagree in this particular situation.
When you’re not only the most famous and lucrative asset on your team, but possibly in the NFL, there are other ways to make money without jeopardizing your team’s financial flexibility. Rodgers was making as much as $7.5 millionoutside of his football contract as recently as 2015, and that may have even gone up since then. For running backs, defensive players, and other less glamourous players, making as much money as you can while playing in the league definitely makes sense. After the NFL there chances at endorsements and other Brett Favre-like commercials will likely be little to none. On top of the fact that they have a much shorter window to make that money, unlike Rodgers who might make another $100 million or more by the time he’s 40.
Now Rodgers was quick to point out in an interview that his last deal did not force the Packers to cut any of the players they had to make space for him. While that means something, it doesn’t include the players they could have signed but didn’t have the space to do so. For years now the Packers have been relying on cheap draft picks to stock up their defense instead of entering the market and trying to find good players in their prime. That has allowed them to save money but it has come at an obvious cost. Their defense has been average or below for years now.
I’m not saying Rodgers shouldn’t get paid, but if he is looking for record setting numbers and that is what is holding up the process, then it’s a bit of a black eye on a team that’s generally considered one of the most wholesome franchises in the NFL. Regardless, these contract negotiations are an unfortunate distraction for the front office workers of the Green Bay Packers and both sides should work towards a speedy conclusion for these negotiations. The longer it goes on the longer I doubt Rodgers’ commitment to Green Bay and to his team.