A recent Tom Silverstein entry to the Packers blog on JSOnline suggested that when the Green Bay Packers finally ink quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a contract extension, they will likely front-load the deal. The reason is that they have the cap space now and Rodgers is worth more now than he will be as he ages and his skills diminish. It will also allow the team the needed salary cap space over the years and in order to remain competitive by retaining current players and acquring new ones.
Is Rodgers worth the $21-$25 million per year that the Packers will likely end up paying him? I say no, but that is not because I think the Packers should try and low ball Rodgers nor does it mean that I think he shouldn’t be the league’s highest-paid player. I simply don’t think any athlete is worth that kind of money. That, however, is the only basis for the title.
I understand why Rodgers will get that kind of money and for the record, I’m all for Green Bay locking him up into his mid 30’s. The Packers can’t afford to create a situation where Rodgers cuts off negotiations and decides to become a free agent after the 2013 season. With a healthy and effective Aaron Rodgers, the Packers can accomplish anything. Without him, they are more questions than answers.
Now, I said that I don’t think any athlete is worth the kind of money referenced above but again, that’s just my personal opinion. I also am a believer that a team’s quarterback is the biggest key to competing for and winning a Super Bowl. Take a look at the list of each Super Bowl-winning quarterback and see if you agree:
Super Bowl 1. Bart Starr (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 2. Bart Starr (MVP), 1 TD
Super Bowl 3. Joe Namath (MVP), 0 TDs
Super Bowl 4. Len Dawson (MVP), 1 TD
Super Bowl 5. John Unitas, 1 TD
Super Bowl 6. Roger Staubach (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 7. Bob Griese, 1 TD
Super Bowl 8. Bob Griese, 0 TDs
Super Bowl 9. Terry Bradshaw, 1 TD
Super Bowl 10. Terry Bradshaw, 2 TDs
Super Bowl 11. Ken Stabler, 1 TD
Super Bowl 12. Roger Staubach, 0 TDs
Super Bowl 13. Terry Bradshaw (MVP), 4 TDs
Super Bowl 14. Terry Bradshaw (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 15. Jim Plunkett (MVP), 3 TDs
Super Bowl 16. Joe Montana (MVP), 1 TD
Super Bowl 17. Joe Theismann, 2 TDs,
Super Bowl 18. Jim Plunkett, 1 TD
Super Bowl 19. Joe Montana (MVP), 3 TDs
Super Bowl 20. Jim McMahon, 0 TDs
Super Bowl 21. Phil Simms (MVP), 3 TDs
Super Bowl 22. Doug Williams (MVP), 4 TDs
Super Bowl 23. Joe Montana, 2 TDs
Super Bowl 24. Joe Montana (MVP), 5 TDs
Super Bowl 25. Jeff Hostetler, 1 TD
Super Bowl 26. Mark Rypien (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 27. Troy Aikman (MVP), 4 TDs
Super Bowl 28. Troy Aikman, O TDs
Super Bowl 29. Steve Young (MVP), 6 TDs
Super Bowl 30. Troy Aikman, 1 TD
Super Bowl 31. Brett Favre, 2 TDs
Super Bowl 32. John Elway, 0 TDs
Super Bowl 33. John Elway (MVP), 1 TD
Super Bowl 34. Kurt Warner (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 35. Trent Dilfer, 1 TD
Super Bowl 36. Tom Brady (MVP), 1 TD
Super Bowl 37. Brad Johnson, 2 TDs
Super Bowl 38. Tom Brady (MVP), 3 TDs
Super Bowl 39. Tom Brady, 2 TDs
Super Bowl 40. Ben Roethlisberger, 0 TDs
Super Bowl 41. Peyton Manning (MVP), 1 TD
Super Bowl 42. Eli Manning (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 43: Ben Roethlisberger, 1 TD
Super Bowl 44: Drew Brees (MVP), 2 TDs
Super Bowl 45: Aaron Rogers (MVP), 3TDs
Super Bowl 46: Eli Manning (MVP), 1 TD
25 of the 46 quarterbacks listed were also their Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. That’s over 50%. Even those who weren’t MVP were no slouch, minus a few. Keep in mind that this list spans several different eras in NFL history. Regardless of what the prevailing offensive and defensive trends have been, a great quarterback continues to be the X-factor on teams that win championships.
As I mentioned, Rodgers’ skills will eventually diminish, but he is nowhere near that time frame yet. He’s the single most important piece to the Packers’ puzzle over the next five to seven years. With that said, it stands to reason why Green Bay is set to pay Rodgers what they will. It may also give some insight into why the Packers and General Manager Ted Thompson walked away from some big-name free agents last month. Clearly, one of his priorities is retaining his current core players, Rodgers being atop that list.
With this management of the salary cap, the Packers seemingly can have their cake and eat it too. They keep Rodgers, have a chance to win now and they will also have cap space to continue adding pieces and improving the roster while they have their elite, championship-caliber quarterback.
Winning a Super Bowl should be every team’s goal, each season. Some teams consistently have a good chance of attaining that goal. Others, in all honesty, are just kidding themselves. Fortunately for Green Bay fans, the Packers have been in the former category for some time now and with more years added to Rodgers’ current deal, they should remain there.
Looking around the league at some teams who are forced to clean house, rebuild and re-tool their rosters, I would have to say that the Packers have done an above-average job of avoiding those pitfalls in recent years. So if they need to “over pay” the single most important guy on the team in order to keep him in green & gold, so be it. Break out the checkbook, Ted!
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: