Aaron Rodgers

USA Today

Aaron Rodgers Is Worth This Contract

The best of the best just got paid. And he deserves every last cent.

August 30, 2018 - 10:18 am

If there was hype and excitement surrounding the Odell Beckham Junior contract, it was nothing compared to the buildup to the new Aaron Rodgers contract. Because Beckham was hoping to break records for receivers, Rodgers had the chance to break records for every football player. And he didn’t disappoint. 

Former teammate James Jones had the news first. And at the risk of turning this into CNBC for a moment, here are the details: signing bonus of 57.5 mill, which breaks Matthew Stafford’s record. According to PFT, the base value of the contract is 176 million over six years, which is an average of just under 30 million per year, and a new money average of 33.5 million. Both are records.

As always when someone signs a new contract there are two competing ideas: it’s none of our business and is he worth it. And the answer to the first is, yeah, it’s none of our business what Rodgers makes. But on the other hand, contracts have become news, so let’s cut to the chase: hell yes he’s worth it.

And after turning this into CNBC, I’m not going to go all stathead on you to run down Aaron’s numbers, because you don’t need numbers to see his greatness. You need eyeballs. That’s it. I don’t have to run down his red zone efficiency or his spin rate or his adjusted net yards per pass attempt. 

Multiple times per season, he does something that you’ve never seen before. The Hail Mary’s, the pass against the Cowboys, the passes with his feet not set, the passes when he’s off-balance, but somehow on balance - the impossible isn’t just possible with Rodgers, it’s normal. It’s expected.

Quick – what’s the most exciting play in the NFL? Kickoff returns? Nope. Punt returns? Nope. The correct answer is: when Rodgers gets the defense to jump offside and he gets a free play. Because you know he’s about to take a chance, air it out, and make some defensive back look stupid. 

For all the excitement about Patrick Mahomes and his arm, and that excitement is justifiable, Rodgers has been firing his arm cannon for years. And making it look easy. 

Is there anyone who means more to their team and their franchise than Aaron Rodgers? Sure, Tom Brady is having the greatest career that a quarterback’s ever had, and has the chance to keep adding to it, but you can’t tell me Tom means more to the Patriots than Aaron does to the Packers. When Brady went down, the Patriots still won with Matt Cassel. When Rodgers goes down, the Packers don’t win. 

Aaron Rodgers is the Packers. And this isn’t to say that they go as he goes. He carries them wherever they go. When they win, it’s because of him and frequently despite a bunch of other things.  

So how do you celebrate a deal like that? By rolling in money? Nope. By rolling in denim, into the Packers Welcome Back Luncheon. Yep, Rodgers went full Canadian tuxedo. 

But the single greatest Canadian tuxedo ever. One that was modeled off a Bing Crosby tux jacket from 1951. An absolutely incredible look. That is the damn truth. 

And here’s another damn truth. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is worth this contract. And he’s still underpaid. In a true free market, you know, like the one that most of us work in, where an employer can pay you anything and where there is no salary cap, Rodgers would make more than 30 mill per year. He’d make 40. Maybe 50. Maybe more than that. Because that’s how much he means to an organization. 

If Jerry Jones or Stephen Ross could write a check for whatever they wanted to get Rodgers, where would they stop? It wouldn’t be thirty million, I know that.