In a game of high-dollar leap frog, NFL quarterbacks are cashing in and one-upping each other to monstrous pay days. The latest market-setting contract extension belongs to Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, superstar signal-caller, who has hopped his way to the top of the list, for now.
Just two months before Rodgers signed his megadeal, Baltimore Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco, had established the figure to beat. Flacco’s well-timed and near-flawless postseason run in 2012 was rewarded with a six-year, $120.6 million contract that averaged a then-record $20.1 million per year.
That number, by design, surpassed what Drew Brees was given by the New Orleans Saints a year before. Another QB fresh off a stellar season, Brees had turned impressive on-field numbers into incredible compensation, logging in at $20 million per year with his five-year, $100 million deal.
The average for Rodgers? $22 million. Considering he drops back to pass 665 times per season (his five-year average per ProFootballFocus.com), that’s over $33,000 per drop-back, or, if you take a look in the PayScale research center, the median annual pay for a construction worker.
Widely viewed as one of the best QBs the league has to offer, Rodgers and the Packers tacked five years onto the two that remained from his existing contract. Those additional dollars ($110 million) placed him atop this fast-changing heap, but for how long?
Joel Corry at CBSsports.com looks ahead at QB contracts on the horizon. With a handful of young passers soon to be discussing salary figures with their respective teams (Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, to name two) could we see even more $20 million-plus passers? There’s no doubt we will, but at some point we’ll also see the ceiling.
There is, after all, only so much creative cap wrangling that can be done before the justification of one player earning almost 20% of a team’s available salary is no longer feasible – much less, digestible – for the team… no matter how great the player is.
Rodgers‘ rise from his famous draft day drop is complete. He has been a Super Bowl champion, he has been the league’s MVP, and now he has the richest contract any team has ever handed out. He can smile for a while.
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