New contracts for Cam Newton and Ryan Tannehill drive home the fact that Aaron Rodgers is both the most expensive quarterback in the league and the biggest bargain among the second-contract players at the position.
Rodgers, a two-time MVP, is entering the third year of a contract that runs through the 2019 season. According to OverTheCap.com:
Total contract: Rodgers’ deal is worth $110 million. Chicago’s Jay Cutler owns the biggest deal at $126.7 million, followed by Baltimore’s Joe Flacco at $120.6 million and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick at $114 million. Rodgers is next, with Dallas’ Tony Romo ($108 million), Carolina’s Newton ($103.8 million), Atlanta’s Matt Ryan ($103.75 million) and New Orleans’ Drew Brees ($100 million) rounding out the eight-man list of $100 million quarterbacks.
Average per season: Rodgers leads the way with an average of $22 million per season. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger ($21.85 million), Newton ($20.76 million), Ryan ($20.75 million), Flacco ($20.1 million), Brees ($20 million), Miami’s Tannehill ($19.25 million), Kaepernick ($19 million), Cutler ($18.1 million) and Romo ($18 million) make it a 10-man list of quarterbacks with $18 million averages.
Total guaranteed money: Rodgers leads the way with $54 million guaranteed. Philadelphia’s Sam Bradford ($50 million) is a surprising No. 2 on the list, followed by Ryan ($42 million), Detroit’s Matthew Stafford ($41.5 million), Newton ($41 million), Brees ($40 million) and Romo ($40 million) to form a seven-man list of quarterbacks pocketing $40 million in guaranteed cash.
Percent of guaranteed money: By percentage, just less than half of Rodgers’ contract is guaranteed. Stafford leads the way at 78.3 percent, followed by Bradford’s 64.1 percent, New England’s Tom Brady at 57.9 percent, Rodgers at 49.1 percent, Denver’s Peyton Manning at 44.1 percent, San Diego’s Philip Rivers at 41.6 percent, Ryan’s 40.5 percent and Brees’ 40.0 percent. (Note: Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, Washington’s Robert Griffin III and Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles are playing under their rookie deals, which guaranteed 100 percent of their contracts.)
Rodgers has been worth every penny of his contract. And when you look down the road, he’s a much better deal than other, less-accomplished players who will take up a bigger chunk of their teams’ salary-cap pies.
Rodgers’ cap number for this season of $18.25 million includes a base salary of just $1 million and a roster bonus of $9.5 million. (That was the last guaranteed money in the contract.) His cap number never rockets through the roof, as it rises only marginally each year until hitting $21.1 million in 2019.
That pay-as-you-go approach is one reason why the Packers were able to keep Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga in free agency this offseason. Rodgers ranks fourth in cap among quarterbacks this year, with Brees at $26.4 million, Eli Manning at $19.75 million and Ryan at $19.5 million.
That fact is amplified even more in 2016, when Rodgers ranks just ninth among quarterbacks with a cap charge of $19.25 million. Flacco’s charge is a whopping $28.55 million and Brees’ cap hit is $27.4 million. Those big totals for Brees in 2015 and 2016 have sunk the Saints. Roethlisberger ranks third in cap, followed by Ryan, Stafford, Peyton Manning, Romo and Newton. Those are all good quarterbacks but would any team take any of the other eight ahead of Rodgers?
In 2017, Rodgers and Tannehill, of all people, are tied for sixth with cap charges of $20.3 million. Flacco is a staggering $31.15 million and Romo is $24.7 million. In 2018, Rodgers ranks sixth among the 12 veteran quarterbacks under contract with a cap charge of $20.9 million — barely more than Alex Smith’s $20.6 million. Romo, who will be 38, tops the list at $25.2 million. There are only eight quarterbacks under contract in 2019. Rodgers’ cap value ranks fourth on that list, with Romo ($23.7 million), Roethlisberger and Newton (both $23.2 million) counting more.
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