Joe Flacco, the starting quarterback for the recent Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens, agreed to a six-year deal worth $120.6 million in March of 2013. The deal contains $52 million in guarantees.
Aaron Rodgers, the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $110 million in April of 2013. That deal contains a record $63 million in guarantees.
According to Jamison Hensley at ESPN.com, the terms net Rodgers $22 million per year and Flacco $20.1 million per year on average over the course of those contracts.
Both of these (now) highly compensated quarterbacks have won a single Super Bowl and each were named MVP of their respective championship games.
However, that's where the comparisons end -- especially as it relates to positional statistics.
A deeper dive into their respective bodies of work reveals that Aaron Rodgers is clearly the statistically superior player in terms of positional talent. That fact helps explain why he has a league-wide MVP award and Flacco does not.
Based on each quarterback's average production, the Ravens either overpaid Joe Flacco or the Packers underpaid Aaron Rodgers --- there's simply no other way to look at it.
Although Rodgers entered the league three years earlier than Flacco, both players were installed as starters at the beginning of the 2008 season. Rodgers has now played in a total of 93 games while Flacco has played in 88.
In his career, Rodgers has accumulated 186 touchdown passes compared to 50 interceptions and an average passer rating of 105.2. Flacco, for his part, has accumulated 112 touchdown passes and 65 interceptions and an average passer rating of 85.6.
Measured against Rodgers, that's 74 fewer touchdown passes and 15 more interceptions -- as well as almost a full 20 point deficiency in terms of passer rating. Those are rather astounding differences -- a virtual grand canyon-sized gap in production.
Aaron Rodgers' passer rating of 105.2 also makes him the number one player in history by that measure. While Joe Flacco is tied for 24th on the same list with Donovan McNabb. Rodgers is well ahead of even the second-best career passer rating of all-time, held by Steve Young at 96.8.
Regarding the forward pass, there's simply no comparison between Rodgers and Flacco and their respective levels of production.
Looking at their mobility, the Packers' starter also appears to have a clear edge on the Ravens' Flacco.
Rodgers has picked up 1,557 yards on the ground since entering the league, whereas Flacco has only run for 494 yards -- meaning Rodgers has more than tripled Flacco's output in almost the exact same window of time.
Broadening the Perspective
Looking at the most important statistic of all -- wins vs. losses -- is where the case for Flacco picks up a little momentum.
In the regular season, Aaron Rodgers has 62 wins and 32 losses, yielding him a winning percentage of 0.660. Joe Flacco's pace has also been impressive, with 66 regular season wins and 35 losses and a winning percentage of 0.653.
However, winning percentage is problematic in a positional comparison because that statistic represents the total team effort. Although the ultimate results of any team usually get placed at the starting quarterback's doorstep, a team's defense should realistically shoulder a large portion of the recognition and blame.
That's why the fact that Flacco was often playing with a stingier defense than Rodgers helps account for the razor-thin difference in their total win-loss records despite an obvious difference in quarterbacking skills.
In terms of total defense, the Ravens had the following NFL rankings from 2008 to 2012: 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 3rd, and 17th. That yields an average defensive ranking of approximately 7th for those five years.
Over that same window of time, the Packers' defense was ranked: 20th, 2nd, 5th, 32nd, and 11th. Those numbers produce an average defensive ranking of 14th, which is clearly well behind that of the Ravens.
Data from the current season appears to support the historical data.
Aaron Rodgers has thus far accumulated a 108.0 passer rating through the first eight games of the season while Joe Flacco is hovering around 79.0. Rodgers is in second place at this stage of the season with Flacco in 24th. Not coincidentally, that's almost a mirror image of their respective rankings on the all-time list.
Looking at some other veteran quarterbacks next to Joe Flacco on the 2013 NFL passer rating list highlights such names as: Alex Smith (ranked 20th), Matt Schaub (ranked 25th), and Carson Palmer (ranked 29th).
The player closest to Flacco on the list, Alex Smith, is set to make $8.5 million in 2013. While Peyton Manning, who is first on the passer rating list in 2013, has a salary of around $20 million per year -- a dollar amount and level of production that almost identically mirrors Aaron Rodgers.
Given that Joe Flacco is being paid at a rate on pace with the best passers in the league, but produces at a level consistent with the middle of the pack, suggests that the Baltimore Ravens may have made a significant miscalculation when negotiating a new contract with their current starting quarterback.
Even if you calculate intangibles into the compensation equation it's difficult to imagine that value could rationalize the vast difference between Flacco's income and that of comparable peers.
With a record of 3-5 this year, the Baltimore Ravens may already be feeling the affects of tying up so much capital with a middle-tier producing quarterback.
Sitting on a 5-3 record, with one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league, the Packers can at minimum feel confident that they negotiated the better of the two mega-contracts.
Even with Rodgers currently sidelined, there's simply no doubting that.
Andrew Prochnow is a derivatives trader by day and a Green Bay Packers fan by night. He is a regular contributor at Yahoo Sports and The Bleacher Report. Tweet him @AndrewProchnow.
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