Saturday, July 14, 2012

Drew Brees Confirms It: Aaron Rodgers Should Be Paid $20 Million Per Year

Though the Saints's new contract with Drew Brees did set a record with $60 million guaranteed, it's about the same contract that Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos a few months ago. Zack Kruse has all the contract details. The difference between Brees and Manning is that, due to Manning's well known neck injury, he's only guaranteed $18 million in the first year, and it becomes $60 million guaranteed in 2013 only after he passes a physical.

Since Brees has no similar medical problem, the Saints aren't waiting a year, and they're bringing the total guaranteed money to $60 million immediately. It makes me wonder what took the Saints so long. They basically gave Brees the same contract as Manning, without the medical concerns.

So this probably means the Green Bay Packers will come agree to a new contract with Aaron Rodgers sooner rather than later. As Zack Kruse points out, Rodgers is underpaid compared to other elite quarterbacks, and none of them are the defending MVP. I'd be shocked if GM Ted Thompson hasn't been planning to give Rodgers a raise, and that he's just been waiting for Brees to confirm the market price ($20 million per season).

This reminds me of what happened two years ago. Darrelle Revis signed a new five-year contract and established the cornerback market, and two days later, the Packers gave Charles Woodson a contract extension so his annual average salary would match Revis's. But since Woodson was already under contract, the discount the Packers received was that Woodson received less guaranteed money, while his average salary was the same as Revis's.

If the Packers do the same thing with Rodgers, they might give him a three-year extension with around $40 million guaranteed. When that guaranteed money is added to the approximately $20 million he's scheduled to be paid through 2014, the Packers would be paying him around $60 million over the next three years. Then they'd set his base salary in 2015 and 2016 at $20 million per season, and he'd be scheduled to be paid $100 million over the next five seasons. That would accomplish the same thing the Packers did with Woodson two years ago: set his average compensation at the top of the market while keeping the guaranteed dollars less than comparable players. That agreement would seem like a win-win for both sides.

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