Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood
During the offseason, one of the biggest topics of discussion is always money. Which top-notch players were going to receive a market-altering contract offer, and who was going to be cut to save space on the cap. It was no different this year, with quite a few high-caliber players making waves with their pay stubs.
There are always differing opinions on whether certain players deserve what they get, or whether they were overpaid as a result of limited options at their respective positions.
In an era of offense, there is added stress being put on rules protecting ball carriers and receivers, as well as quarterbacks. Most of the rules put into place are to protect the players health as much as possible without affecting the general overall outcome of the performance. These rules, set in place, also create a game vastly different from the one we once knew. More scoring, less contact. With these changes, comes elevated importance on contractually locking down your most dangerous offensive threats.
Ideally, in a situation where a player has given his all to an organization, and his production mirrors that of the elites, he is compensated accordingly. Also, though, exits the opposite. A player can be a major contributor to a franchise, and still find himself at a crossroads come contract negotiations. Despite their success on the field, they may still find themselves having to make a tough financial decision regarding their future.
Professional football is a business, first and foremost.
One of the most noteworthy players that signed an astronomical contract this offseason, is Aaron Rodgers. Almost immediately following the announcement, the internet, as well as most football fans around the globe, broke into a debate over whether or not he deserved the contract he received. Against him, were all the normal arguments waged against a player after a big signing. “He only has one ring.” “His team never performs in the postseason.” “He’s a benefactor of a great offensive mind.” Although some of these points may be partially true, none of them are reasons why he shouldn’t receive his monstrous payday. Here are the number from OvertheCap.com.
|Age||Base Salary||Prorated Sign-on||Roster||Workout||Cap #|
With football being the ultimate team sport, there are a lot of moving cogs that go into the final product. Every position practices separately while perfecting their craft, and then all of the pieces are put together to make magic. In football, a game where every position is codependent on the man lined up next to you, consistency and leadership are two qualities every franchise longs for in a QB. Rodgers makes everyone around him better, and can make any throw you can draw up. If you can obtain and lockdown a prolific passer for the foreseeable future, especially one with great field awareness, every other roster decision becomes slightly easier.
Rodgers is the ultimate asset. He proves himself time and time again. He is dominant every time he steps on the field, and has never met his match in terms of a defense he can’t pick apart. Defensive coordinators lose sleep game planning for him, and he’s the key to an offense that is completely built around the way he plays the game. When he is on the field, his team can compete against anyone in the league. When he’s not, they are less than stellar.
Without Rodgers, the Packers offense fails to move the ball.
In his absence, not only does the passing game fall apart, but their rushing attack, which already notoriously struggles, and has averaged 17th in the league since Rodgers’ emergence as the QB1 ,cannot be trusted.
The Green Bay Defense has helped Rodgers about as much as the rushing game has. In his time as the starting QB, over the span of the last decade, the Packers team defense has averaged 17th in the league , and never held up in clutch situations. Although their defense did manage a great year in 2011(also the year they won the Super Bowl), they’ve never shown consistency during his time there. Therefore, his play at the QB position has been made a priority in a franchise that expects to win.
With Rodgers at the command, the Packers offense is always a lethal threat to put up both yards and points. They consistently move the ball, and can usually make up for the lousy rushing game with an elite passing attack.
In the eight full seasons that he has played without injury, he has put up fantastic numbers. He routinely finishes the season in the top five in QBR, and is historically careful with the ball.
If you needed a recent example of just how masterful he can be in the pocket, look no further than the last game he played against the Bears.
On Sunday, September 9th, the Packers played the Bears at home. After Rodgers went down in the first half, the Packers fell behind 20-0 at the break. Rodgers left on the cart and it looked gloomy for Green Bay fans.
And then, like the Magician he is, Rodgers emerges from the locker room in the second half, and brings his team back from the dead to a 24-23 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears.
Rodgers is obviously worth the house, but it’s not always just a question of whether a player is worth it or not, but whether the team can afford them. In his case, the Packers had enough cap space to offer a huge deal. Had they not, they would have made space.
Rodgers’ 4 year/$134M contract extension($100M+ guaranteed) is a small price to pay to keep this man in town. As mediocre as their rushing game AND defense has been for the past decade, the fact that they won a Super Bowl in that time is impressive.
Sometimes it’s ok to question the contract a player receives, especially if it’s for your team. In this case, it should be obvious. Aaron Rodgers is worth it.
If you enjoyed this piece on the Aaron Rodgers saga, and want to hear more from me and the Garage Guys follow us on Twitter @garageguysfs and myself @fantasyguy93 for any and all fantasy sports updates and advice!