What Aaron Rodgers' record-breaking extension with the Green Bay Packers means

Jay Asser 23:49 29/08/2018
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Aaron Rodgers is once again the richest quarterback in the game.

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers agreed on Wednesday to a record-breaking four-year, $134 million extension, which could be worth up to $180m and features $103m in guaranteed money, according to reports.

Aside from setting a record in terms of the total value of the contract, guaranteed money and annual salary ($33.5m), the deal is also set to keep Rodgers in Green Bay through the 2023 season, when he’ll turn 40.

The last time Rodgers was the highest-paid quarterback was in 2015, when he was still on his five-year, $100m extension. Since then, several quarterbacks have surpassed him, with Matt Ryan the latest to set a new benchmark with his five-year, $150m extension with the Atlanta Falcons back in May.

It’s appropriate that Rodgers, who is widely considered the best quarterback in the league, is once again at the top of the hierarchy. It’s unclear how long his run will last though.

Usually, when NFL stars ink record deals, it paves the way for another player to top the mark down the road. But when it’s players who are considered the best at their position signing those deals, they become harder to beat.

In terms of ability, no quarterback in the league has a leg to stand on when it comes to arguing they deserve more money than Rodgers. Age is the only factor working in favour of other quarterbacks, who can point to more years of service in contract negotiations. Still, it could be some time before anyone jumps Rodgers, especially with $3.5 million separating him and Ryan, allowing players to continue one-upping each other without dethroning the Packers star.

For Green Bay, the contract gives the franchise peace of mind as they know they have their leader locked in for several seasons to come. But it also comes with some risk due to Rodgers’ injury history and his age by the time the deal ends.

Rodgers has suffered two major injuries in his career, with the first coming in 2013 when he fractured his collarbone and missed seven games, and the other coming last year when he similarly broke his collarbone and sat out nine contests.

The risk with his injury history isn’t about how his previous ailments will affect him going forward, but rather how his playing style will age.

Both of those injuries came when Rodgers was roaming outside the pocket, trying to make a play. Part of what makes Rodgers so dangerous is his mobility and ability to strike from anywhere on the field. That also puts him in the way of danger at times, which he’s so far mostly avoided, but could catch up on him as he ages.

Rodgers hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in his mid 30s, but quarterbacks have been known to fall off a cliff without notice.

In all likelihood, Rodgers should follow in the path of Tom Brady and Drew Brees as a quarterback who remains sharp in his old age.

His monster deal won’t make it any easier for the Packers to put the best pieces around him, but that’s a more than reasonable price to pay for a player who makes them Super Bowl contenders year in and year out.

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