The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are $2M per year apart (USA Today Sports Images)
Last week, a report surfaced that had the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers nearing a long-term extension that would make the Super Bowl XLV Most Valuable Player the highest-paid player in NFL history.
On Monday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the two sides are approaching a resolution on a new deal and currently are $2 million per season apart.
According to Rapoport, the Packers' current offer averages more than $21 million per season, which would be a nice increase over the $20.1 million average per year (APY) that Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco received from the Baltimore Ravens in a contract signed on March 4, 2013. A $2 million gap suggests that Rodgers, who has passed for 21,332 yards with 170 touchdowns and just 46 interceptions in his first five seasons as a full-time starter in the NFL, is seeking a deal in the $23 million per year range, which would make his contract a bit harder for upcoming quarterback extensions to leap-frog in the APY rankings.
Quarterbacks who are expected to receive long-term extensions in the near future include Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions, whose willingness to restructure their contracts have resulted in exorbitant cap charges in upcoming seasons. Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears are entering the final years of their current contracts and will likely receive long-term deals this offseason. Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers will be eligible for extensions following the 2013 season, while the Seattle Seahawks can start to pay Russell Wilson what he's worth following the 2014 season.
Rodgers is represented by David Dunn of Athletes First, who does not represent any of the other eight quarterbacks listed above and may be inclined to play hardball. That group is represented by Tom Condon (Manning, Stafford and Ryan), James "Bus" Cook (Cutler, Newton and Wilson), Ryan and Bruce Tollner (Roethlisberger) and Scott Smith (Kaepernick).
Rodgers may currently be one of the best values in the league.
The 29-year-old is scheduled to earn $9.75 million in cash compensation this season ($9.25 million base salary, $500,000 workout bonus), which has him tied with Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs for 12th among current quarterbacks in that department in 2013. Rodgers is due $11 million in cash compensation in 2014 for a total of $20.75 million over the next two seasons.
Given his production and that he's just entering his prime, Rodgers could be looking for a deal that pays out at least $30 million in the first year, which would put him between the $30 million Flacco received from the Ravens, though he'd likely be targeting the the $40 million in "Year One" cash that Drew Brees received from the New Orleans Saints last July. Rodgers' camp would certainly like to topple the $51 million Flacco will receive over the next two seasons, the $62 million that Flacco will get over the next three seasons, as well as beat the $60.5 million in guaranteed money in the Brees' deal.
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