I can already hear the debate and I’m not having any of it. When Aaron Rodgers signs the biggest contract in NFL history in the coming days or weeks, it will cause fans to bemoan and media jackals to wonder why Rodgers would strap his team with such salary cap restraints.
Look at what Tom Brady just did, they’ll remind us; he took less money so his team could build a Super Bowl-contending roster. My answer to that is this: Brady didn’t take any discount five years ago when he was Rodgers’ age. This is Rodgers’ payday and he deserves every penny.
When called on to take over in 2008, he faced more than the 22 Vikings players in his first start. At least half of the fans at Lambeau booed him that day. It would be the last time they would. Very quickly, we found out what we had: a historically great quarterback who not only would keep the Packers relevant as long as he was healthy, but also a guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder. He has since he was a kid. He still wears that chip, even with a Super Bowl MVP in his back pocket.
The Packers quickly tore up his deal and gave him a new one, one that has made him one of the great values in the NFL the last few years. It’s time for him to take his rightful place at the top of the salary pecking order, ahead of Flacco, Romo, Brees, Brady and Manning.
Let the number-crunchers figure out how to set it up so that there is sufficient cap room to pay the other players they want to keep. And we will have to presume Ted Thompson and his staff will continue to fill in around him and the other core guys, using the draft and adding a few undrafted free agent gems.
A 29-year-old QB with Aaron Rodgers’ resume should not be asked to take one for the team. He should be rewarded for his consistent greatness and should take his rightful place atop the NFL salary heap.