Aaron Rodgers Deserves to Be the Highest-Paid Player in the NFL

Chris Peterson@@ThePPRExpertsAnalyst IMarch 6, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws the ball in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The ink has barely dried on the record-breaking contract that Joe Flacco signed Monday with the Baltimore Ravens and there is already talk about how this deal will affect the contract Aaron Rodgers eventually signs with the Green Bay Packers.

After a sluggish regular season, Flacco showed he is well worth the six-year, $120 million contract he was rewarded with earlier this week, thanks to a magical postseason run that saw the former Delaware quarterback beat the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning while throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions on a Cinderella run to a Super Bowl title.

While Flacco was certainly worthy of the contract he was given by the Ravens, there can be no doubt that Rodgers deserves even more from the Packers.

The Flacco-Rodgers comparison actually is an interesting one. Both players became full-time starters in 2008 and have since led their respective teams to Super Bowl championships, while each collecting Super Bowl MVP honors.

While no one could realistically make the case the Flacco is better than Rodgers, he does best him in one important category: wins. Flacco boasts a 63-30 record as a starter, while Rodgers' record is 57-29 including playoffs according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Yet in all other important statistical categories, there is no comparison. During their five seasons, Rodgers has averaged 4,266 yards passing, 34 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Flacco, on the other hand, has averaged just 3,526 passing yards to go along with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  Rodgers also racked up over 1,400 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, compared to just 430 rushing yards and seven touchdowns for Flacco.

Beyond statistics, Rodgers also has been named to the Pro Bowl three times and the All-Pro team once, and he won the 2011 regular season MVP award, while the Ravens signal-caller has done none of these things.

Here is what NFL analyst and former NFL MVP Rich Gannon had to say (via the Journal Sentinel) on the subject of comparing Rodgers with other quarterbacks such as Flacco:

"If you’re the agent that represents him, you have to feel pretty good about it. Let’s just put it that way. You want to compare numbers and stuff, I’ll put that guy up against anybody.”

“At some point, it's inevitable you have to address it," said Gannon, who works at Sirius XM. "This guy’s in the prime of his career. He has won a Super Bowl. He’s the league MVP. He’s breaking records each week, each year. I don’t see any sign of him falling down anytime soon, so it’s the cost of doing business."

Yes, it is the cost of doing business, but it's a cost the Packers are lucky to have. Not every team is blessed with a quarterback that gives them the ability to contend for a Super Bowl championship each and every year, but they are and they won't soon forget it.

Not only has the former Cal quarterback become arguably the best player in the NFL, he's made Packers fans forget about Brett Favre, and as long as he's under center, this team will have Super Bowl aspirations.  

So he shouldn't be asked or expected to give a hometown discount like Tom Brady did, because Rodgers has never really been shown the money. He deserves a $100 million-plus size contract. And even though the compensation may get staggering,  he will be worth every penny.

It's time to stop the speculation about Rodgers' new contract, because he deserves to be the highest-paid player in National Football League—and he will be. It's all just a matter of time.