Rodgers' Salary Almost Comical

Where does a Super Bowl-winning and reigning MVP quarterback rank among his peers in average salary?

On the eve of the 1994 opener, Sterling Sharpe informed the Green Bay Packers that he would not play under the terms of a 10-year contract he signed in 1991 and had revised in 1993.

If Aaron Rodgers were a selfish player — which he's not — he could hold up the Packers in similar fashion.

With Drew Brees signing a five-year, $100 million contract that includes $60 million guaranteed, Rodgers ranks 11th in the NFL among quarterbacks. His average salary is $12.704 million.

Of the 10 quarterbacks with a higher annual salary, only five have won Super Bowls — No. 1 Brees (one), No. 2 Peyton Manning (one), No. 3 Tom Brady (three), No. 4 Eli Manning (two) and No. 8 Ben Roethlisberger (two).

Peyton Manning (four), Brady (two) and Rodgers (one) are the only active quarterbacks to have won MVP honors.

On the other hand, No. 5 Michael Vick, No. 6 Philip Rivers, No. 7 Jay Cutler, No. 9 Mark Sanchez and No. 10 Sam Bradford have neither a Super Bowl championship ring on his finger nor a MVP trophy on his mantle. Neither do Kevin Kolb and Matthew Stafford, whose average pay is within $500,000 of what Rodgers is earning.

Rodgers, who is the NFL's career and single-season leader in passer rating, is a proud player with a chip on his shoulder. Going from a possible No. 1 overall pick to the 24th selection in 2005 continues to motivate him. So, it's likely Rodgers has a pretty good idea — if not an exact idea — where he ranks in salary among his peers.

On the other hand, Rodgers knows how the system works. He was only halfway through his first season as a starting quarterback in 2008 when he was rewarded with a lucrative contract extension. The Packers went all-in on Rodgers by giving him a 2008 base salary of $23,762,222 (not to mention a comical $4,920 workout bonus) and an additional $7,420,000 roster bonus for 2009. At that point in his career, Rodgers wasn't worth that much money, just like the no-championship quarterbacks ranked ahead of Rodgers aren't worth what they're being paid.

Rodgers is a huge bargain. With three years remaining on his deal, he has cap numbers of $8.5 million in 2012, $9.75 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014. Combined, those numbers are $7.75 million less than Brees' signing bonus of $37 million and $10.75 million less than Brees' first-year pay of $40 million.

Brees told WWL radio Friday night that he was not seeking to become the NFL's highest-paid player.

"I can tell you from the start of this negotiation, I never thought once, 'Hey, I want to be the highest-paid guy," Brees told the radio station, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "It was more about trying to look purely objectively at numbers over the last decade of top-tier quarterbacks, where it's been and where it's going, and trying to do what's fair and justified."

Brees' contract tops the $96 million deal Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos in March.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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