Packers Paying a High Insurance Premium for Aaron Rodgers


Aaron Rodgers likes to hang on to the ball longer than any elite QB in the league.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

If the Green Bay Packers are being billed each month to insure Aaron Rodgers, they no doubt are paying the highest premium of any team in the league.

The insurance industry has actuaries to analyze data and determine what you pay to keep your home or auto insured. Let’s look at how an actuary might analyze how much insurance the Packers need for Aaron Rodgers.

Rating Territory
Some parts of the country just have more accidents. That affects your insurance payment. The Packers play a 2013 schedule laden with sack artists. Minnesota’s Jared Allen (12 sacks in 2012) and Chicago’s Julius Peppers (11.5 sacks) will be chasing Rodgers in four games. Additionally, Rodgers will be trying to avoid the shoulder pads of Aldon Smith (19.5 sacks) in week 1, Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins (12.5 sacks) and Michael Johnson (11.5 sacks) in week 3, and the Cowboys’ Demarcus Ware (11.5 sacks) in week 15.

Aaron Rodgers against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter of the NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Driver Classification
Statistics show younger drivers have more accidents. Rodgers turns 30 in December, but in 2012 he continued to play the part of a youthful driver by hanging onto the ball longer to prolong a play and taking the inevitable punishment that comes with that bravado. See this data-driven analysis from Jersey Al’s website from the Packers-Saints game in 2012. When he did not scramble, Rodgers hung onto the ball, on average, a half second longer than Drew Brees.

Driving Record
Drivers who have been involved in more collisions generally are charged more for insurance. Let’s take a look at the average annual sacks for the elite quarterbacks in their last five full seasons of playing.

Aaron Rodgers. 40 sacks.
Tom Brady. 24 sacks.
Drew Brees. 21 sacks.
Peyton Manning. 16 sacks.

What is ominous is that each of these elite quarterbacks, except for Rodgers, have suffered significant injuries. Manning missed the entire 2011 season as a result of a neck injury. Brady missed all but one game in 2008 due to an anterior cruciate injury. Brees had a torn labrum in the final game of 2005, but was able to return to star form in 2006 after surgery.

You might say, Brett Favre survived getting sacked more than any quarterback in league history without a major injury. Yes, that is true. Favre averaged about 27.6 sacks a season over 19 full seasons. Rodgers is on a pace to shatter that record if he were to compete for 19 seasons, if he doesn’t shatter a bone or retire first. Favre liked to back-pedal after most of his throws, avoiding injury. We don’t see Rodgers doing that much.

How about the number of quarterback hits?  Only six of the league’s 32 teams suffered more quarterback hits than the Packers in 2012.

Aaron Rodgers is best when he can find receivers quickly.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Who was #1? The Philadelphia Eagles, who lost Michael Vick for six games due to injuries.
Who was #3? The Jaguars, who lost Blaine Gabbert to injured reserve.
Who was #4? The Cardinals, who lost Kevin Kolb to injured reserve, too.
Who was #5? The Kansas City Chiefs, who lost the services of quarterback Matt Cassel due to a head injury.

Use of the Car
Do you use your car a lot or just occasionally? The more miles you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident, right? Makes sense.

In 2012, the Packers passed the ball about 59 percent of the time, 14th in the league. This may surprise some of you who thought the Packers were a pass-happy team.

This is one area where the Packers’ coaches have the most direct control when it comes to protecting Rodgers and reducing his chances for injury. Don’t take the car out every night for a joy ride. Have Eddie Lacy, Jonathon Franklin, or DeJuan Harris give you a lift every now and then.

Type of Car
Do you drive a Mercedes or a Chevy? Replacement value is a factor in the amount of premium you pay each month for your car. With a price tag of $110 million, Aaron Rodgers is the SL63 AMG of the league. Check out that car. It looks cool.

Insurance companies regularly monitor your driving record, classification, etc. Changes bring about changes in your premium. Drafting Lacy in the second round and trading up to get Franklin in the fourth, bypassing other areas of need, is part of the price the Packers are paying to insure Rodgers over the length of his contract.

But is it enough? I think the actuaries are looking for another offensive tackle.