NFL: Aaron Rodgers Next Contract Could Change the NFL Forever

Aaron Rodgers is looking for a raise. With two years remaining on his current contract with the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers is grossly underpaid at $22 million per season. Rodgers has been passed on the quarterback money list by quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo. While both Cousins and Garoppolo have earned their extensions, they are not in the elite class that Rodgers is.

The Packers have maintained all along that they intend on extending Rodgers. The pressure is on new Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst after Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan recently signed a five year, $150 million dollar extension, with $100 million in guarantees. Rodgers new deal will top that but by how much remains to be seen.

For his part, Rodgers wants to remain in Green Bay but he also wants some contractual flexibility in his new deal. He wants built in options that would allow him to get out of the deal and become a free agent. In short, Rodgers wants to keep his options open. If he doesn’t feel the Packers are going in the right direction, he wants to be able to go elsewhere.

While that might be good for Rodgers, it is bad for the Packers. As it stands, the Packers have all of the leverage right now. They don’t have to do anything if they don’t want to. Rodgers is under contract for two more years and he can be franchised after that. If the Packers negotiate a new deal with Rodgers, it is because they want to reward for his play and show loyalty to him.  They are not obligated to do anything however.

If Rodgers got the extension he wants, it would change the NFL landscape  forever. If the players have more flexibility and control over their future, it could lead to the NFL becoming more like the NBA where the players have more power and influence. Like the NBA, players could opt out and choose to go play with other players in pursuit of a championship. While this is good for the players, it is bad for the league. The NBA is a league run by five teams and ten players. NFL owners don’t want to see that happen to their league.

Rodgers will eventually get paid but he may not get the built in options he wants. Does he sign a deal that doesn’t include options or does he play hard ball? Time will tell. One has to wonder if the Packers are contemplating life after Aaron Rodgers. If they are not, they might want to. Rodgers seems steadfast in his belief that he should have more contractual flexibility. From the Packers standpoint, giving one player that much control could be good short term but it could be bad for the long term viability of the franchise. Either way, this drama will play out all summer long and it will be a story worth watching because the outcome could alter course of the NFL for years to come.