Aaron Rodgers is entering the 2018 season as the highest paid player in the NFL, and deservedly so. The contract he signed is a 4 year $134 million deal with the potential to reach $180 million if he hits incentive bonuses. In a salary cap world, there will always be a debate on whether a player is worth his cap space. Being over paid can hinder a team from competing, so obviously the highest cap in the league is worth analyzing.
There are a couple different reasons why Aaron Rodgers is absolutely worth this deal, and could actually be a steal for Green Bay.
First and most importantly, Rodgers simply deserves to be the highest paid player based on factual statistics. Not only is he statistically the best QB in the game right now, he’s the best statistically of all time. He boasts the highest QB rating ever for a starting QB, and the lowest interception percentage. That is insane. We can debate all day about whether that puts him in the conversation of best ever, but those facts cannot be disputed. Statistics aside, anyone who has been following the NFL for the last decade can tell you Rodgers is an extremely special player. He’s carried Green Bay through some rough years, and brought them to playoffs for all but his second year as a starter. He’s not only known for his pin point accuracy, but also his mobility, his decision making, and his clutchness tossing ridiculous Hail Marys to win games. In other words, he’s elite at everything.
Secondly, it is important to remember that the salary cap is always rising, and the cost to retain franchise QB’s will continue to rise with it. Aaron himself is a perfect example of this. When he signed his last contract, he was the highest paid player in the league, but it wasn’t long before this was overtaken in the coming years by contracts given to EIGHT other quarterbacks, including Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo. Look at this list. Even barely above average QB’s are costing an arm and a leg to keep. So with that said, it won’t be long before Rodgers contract will look like a complete steal (which is only $3 million more per year than Kirk Cousins for comparison).
And finally, this is the time for Green Bay to go for it all. Rodgers isn’t exactly young anymore. Randall Cobb and Jimmy Graham probably only have a few more years of consistent productivity. And while the defense does have some promising young talent, particularly at the DB position, the team lives and dies by Aaron’s arm. I can’t say how long he will decide to play football for, but you can be sure that his replacement is extremely unlikely to replicate his impact on the team. Give him as much money as he wants now and go for gold.
The only possible downside here is the idea of Rodgers being injury prone and potentially wasting a ton of money. It’s not a concern without warranted discussion, however all I can say is that all football players get hurt. If you haven’t missed parts of a season this far into your career, you are extremely lucky. At the end of the day, Rodgers has played 15 or more games in 8 out of 10 seasons as a starter. The entire idea of him being injury prone is completely blown out of proportion.