Player grades are a tried-and-true staple at the end of every season. We put our usual spin on them by grading the players on a salary-cap curve.
Aaron Rodgers: Based on his cap charge of $18.25 million, Rodgers was the fourth-highest paid quarterback in the league this season. His 92.7 passer rating ranked 15th and below such luminaries as Tyrod Taylor and Josh McCown and just ahead of Jay Cutler, Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. Rodgers entered the season ranked first in NFL history in passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt. Incredibly, he ranked 26th in completion percentage and 30th in yards per attempt. It would be fair to say that perhaps no quarterback had a worse group of passing-game targets than Rodgers, who had to cope with Jordy Nelson’s torn ACL, Davante Adams’ second-year bust and a general lack of speed that had secondaries playing without fear. It also would be fair to say Rodgers failed to lift that group upon his shoulders until the playoffs. He seemed weighed down by it all. He had a rating of at least 99.0 in five of the first six games but in none of the final 12 (including playoffs). Nonetheless, the Packers finished 10-6 and almost reached the NFC title game. If you don’t think that’s noteworthy, check out the video that's with this story. He threw 31 touchdown passes vs. eight interceptions. There have been 11 seasons in NFL history with a quarterback throwing at least 31 touchdowns and no more than eight interceptions. Rodgers has authored four of them. Grade: B.
Scott Tolzien: Tolzien’s cap charge of $1.35 million on his one-year contract ranked 50th in the league. That put him right about in the middle of the pack among the league’s backups. In three games, Tolzien went 1-for-1 for 4 yards — at the end of the Week 16 blowout at Arizona. But with back-to-back excellent preseasons, it will be interesting to see what kind of market he attracts in free agency. Will a team without an established starter or one that’s buying time with a draft pick consider him good enough to push for a starting job? Grade: Incomplete.
Brett Hundley: The Packers moved up in the fifth round to grab Hundley, whose cap charge was merely $490,908 as he pocketed a $223,632 signing bonus to go along with his minimum base salary. Because he played in a spread offense at UCLA, Hundley not only had to learn a playbook but he had to learn how to play quarterback in a pro-style scheme. Not surprisingly, Hundley looked like a fish out of water during the offseason practices and the start of training camp. Then, in what seemed like an instant, it all started to click. Hundley led the NFL with a preseason passer rating of 129.7. With Tolzien headed to free agency, are the Packers ready to hand the No. 2 reins to Hundley? Grade: Incomplete.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.