Aaron Rodgers: NFL Players Lack 'Leverage' NBA Players Have in Contract Talks

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2018

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Steelers 51-34.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers agreed to a record-breaking contract with the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, but he acknowledged that he had to make some compromises to get a deal done. 

The two-time NFL MVP let it be known that he would've preferred an NBA-style contract, featuring more guaranteed money and a flexible salary that was tied to the salary cap. However, he doesn't believe his league is currently in a position to do deals like that, via ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky:

"I don't think the NFL is ready for those types of contracts. There's language that needs to change for those to become more standard, but there just isn't the movement in that area on the franchises' side to do contracts that allow players to have more of the leverage that NBA players have. Instead, they would rather go traditional routes with large signing bonuses, and prorate that over five years in order to minimize cap hits. That's the desired approach, and there wasn't a lot of wiggle room in that area."

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Rodgers' new deal is worth $134 million over four years. Rapoport noted the Packers star will receive a record $57.5 million signing bonus and is owed more than $80 million by March (h/t NFL.com's Herbie Teope).

The contract could reach $180 million in total money, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter (via Demovsky). It also reportedly includes more than $100 million in guaranteed money.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported in May that Rodgers was looking for player control in a new contract so he would have the chance to adjust his salary in the future as players continued to earn more money:

When Rodgers signed a five-year, $110 million extension in 2013, he had the highest annual salary in NFL history. However, a number of quarterbacks surpassed that figure in the years since, which is why the six-time Pro Bowler preferred an adjustable salary.

While Rodgers' contract is eye-popping by NFL standards, it may not stack up as favorably when compared to those of the NBA and MLB. Fully guaranteed contracts are largely standard in each of those leagues, whereas in the NFL, teams are often able to save money by releasing a veteran once the guaranteed portions of his contract is finished.

That's why Kirk Cousins' contract with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason made waves. As the top free-agent quarterback on the market, Cousins found himself in the center of a bidding war and wound up signing a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract with Minnesota. With it, he became the first quarterback in league history to sign a multiyear, fully guaranteed deal, per Rapoport.

Rodgers' value to the Packers was never more obvious than it was in 2017. A collarbone injury limited him to only seven games, and the team went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, his first year as the starter.

If Rodgers wasn't able to change the landscape of NFL contracts under those circumstances, it may be some time before the league adjusts.

Related

    Packers Rookie WR Earns High Praise for Special Teams Work

    Green Bay Packers logo
    Green Bay Packers

    Packers Rookie WR Earns High Praise for Special Teams Work

    Zach Kruse
    via Packers Wire

    Report: Viking's Griffen Involved in Hotel Shooting Threat

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: Viking's Griffen Involved in Hotel Shooting Threat

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Bud Dupree with a Pick-6 🔶🎥

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Bud Dupree with a Pick-6 🔶🎥

    thecheckdown
    via Twitter

    AB Scores with the Quickness 🎥

    NFL logo
    NFL

    AB Scores with the Quickness 🎥

    thecheckdown
    via Twitter