Aaron Rodgers will likely retire as a member of the Green Bay Packers. A little over a year ago, this seemed extremely unlikely, but the Packers have done enough to convince him to stay by solidifying the team and I'm just kidding. They gave him a huge-ass contract.
The Packers gave Rodgers so much money that he had to deny how much money he was getting because it made him sound bad. Rodgers will earn $150 million over the next three seasons. After that it's anyone's guess what happens, but he will technically be on the books as he becomes the NFL's latest 40-something quarterback. The question is, will the Packers regret this longterm commitment? The answer is probably no.
With a few notable exceptions, if you want to win in the NFL you need a high-level quarterback. Most of the time you need to pay them handsomely to land them and every time you need to pay them well to keep them. The goal is to be paying a high-level quarterback.
Going by average salary, the top nine highest-paid players in the NFL are quarterbacks. Rodgers currently tops that list at $50 million. Jared Goff will make $31 million this season. You probably want to be the team with $19 million less to spend on other positions.
Looking forward, Rodgers' massive deal will pay him 24.83 percent of the Packers salary cap in 2023. Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are the only other players above 20 percent. Kirk Cousins will take up 17 percent of the Vikings cap and Carson Wentz will take nearly 16 of Washington's in 2023.
Rodgers will be just the fifth-highest paid quarterback this year behind Ryan Tannehill, Mahomes, Cousins and Goff. Right there it looks like the Packers are in decent shape. Rodgers will make slightly more than Wentz in Washington and Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco.
If you look all the way to 2026, the final year of Rodgers' new deal (which we will likely never see), the only quarterbacks on the books are Rodgers, Watson, Stafford, Mahomes, and Allen. Three of those guys have won Super Bowls. Allen seems close. And the Watson situation is too ridiculous to even discuss here.
Rodgers' deal seems crazy, but as the Packers survey the land of the NFL season by season they'll be happy to overpay their quarterback a little. When Rodgers does finally leave there's no telling how long it will take for the Packers to get another franchise guy worth giving that kind of money.