Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL. That doesn’t mean the Green Bay Packers need to give in to all of his contract demands.
Contract negotiations in the NFL are all about leverage. The fact that Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game gives him quite a bit. It does not, however, mean the Green Bay Packers are obligated to meet each and every one of his contract demands.
The team has quite a bit of leverage to wield against their star quarterback too. He still has two additional years left on his current contract. It wouldn’t be ideal, but the Packers could simply try to force their star signal caller to play out his current deal.
After that, the team could simply franchise Rodgers for two additional seasons. In essence, Green Bay has four effective years of team control left even if they do nothing with their quarterback’s current contract. That would take him to his age 38 season. Rodgers can still be productive well after that, but his performance could certainly start to drop off at or before that point.
The ability to control him for four more years without doing anything is what could allow the team to refuse to give him any sort of opt-out in his next deal. NFL.com is reporting that the inclusion of such a clause is “extremely important” to Rodgers. It’s a negotiating point the team will want to do everything they can to win.
It’s easy to understand why Rodgers would want to include an opt-out. He’s seen his current five-year contract become financially obsolete. As the quarterback market continues to escalate, any long-term contract a player signs inevitably becomes a bargain in its later stages. The fact that Rodgers is only the 10th-highest paid quarterback in the league in terms of average annual compensation illustrates this phenomenon perfectly. It’s entirely logical for Rodgers to try to make sure this doesn’t happen to him again.
The answer for the Packers is pretty simple. They need to hand Rodgers a deal that will blow away the massive contract Matt Ryan just signed with the Falcons. The organization needs to pay Rodgers a heavy premium to make sure they lock him in to be in Green Bay for the rest of his career. That might cause salary cap problems for the team down the line, but it eliminates the possibility of Rodgers walking away after two or three seasons. That’s a price worth paying for the Packers.