Packers: Aaron Rodgers contract a win-win situation

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers /

Why Aaron Rodgers’ contract situation is a win-win for both Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Aaron Rodgers is my guy. Like me, he’s from northern California. He’s almost exactly the same age as my firstborn son. He attended the same university that my older brother did.

Besides all that and perhaps partly because of it, I was on his “bandwagon” when many others were bemoaning the fact that he was “pushing Brett Favre out the door,” calling him fragile, and implying he was soft (even though he continued playing after he broke his foot in the third quarter of one of his early appearances, in 2006) — and even trash-yelling him at his early practices in Green Bay.

However (there’s always a ‘however’)

However, something worries me about Rodgers. He is due for a contract extension, and the 49ers just paid Jimmy Garoppolo beucoups bucks ($137.5 million over five years).

I’m afraid that Rodgers’ ego (everybody has one) and competitive nature (everybody has one, but in his case, according to reports, it is hyperactive) will cause him to feel his contract needs to exceed Garoppolo’s (and everybody else’s).

More from Lombardi Ave

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Rodgers got a gazillion dollars. More power to him. Except for one thing: there’s only so much money to go around (because of the NFL salary cap).

The more money goes to one player, the less there is available to pay the others. And, ultimately, in football as well as life in general, “you get what you pay for.” In other words, if Rodgers “breaks the bank,” the companion pieces around him may of necessity end up being of a bit lesser quality.

Why is that a problem? The quarterback is the most important position, right? If you’ve got a great quarterback, you have a chance to win it all. If your quarterback is subpar, you can usually pretty much forget about it.

True. I grant you that. But still. Does Jordan win all those rings without Pippen, Kukoc, Rodman, et al?

Not only does lack of available cap money lead to lesser quality players, it could also lead to locker room dissatisfaction, perhaps leading to dissension, and possibly even to outright friction. The other players would never say that in public, I’m sure, but it is at least a possibility. After all, the other players have egos, too.

Cohesion and camaraderie on a team matter. You can’t quantify and measure them, but they do matter. Things like unfair treatment (or even perceived unfair treatment) do have an effect on how well a team works together.

Psy-ops on Rodgers aborted

I think I’m cagey enough to know better than to call out Rodgers by telling him, “Hey, if you really wants to win more Super Bowls, you need to resist the temptation to hold the Packers‘ contract negotiators hostage. Put your ego aside, Aaron! Prove your worth on the field, not based on the figures on your new contract.” That trick never works.

But I also think Rodgers is cagey enough to know that, the more Super Bowls he wins, the more recognition, respect, and even money he will get in the long run. After all, Super Bowl quarterbacks and MVPs end up with the potential of making a lot more money (from endorsements, television spots, speaking engagements, etc.) than they would if their teams were just good, but not great.

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

The counter-intuitive win-win contract scenario

Here’s to hoping that, when Rodgers’ next contract is signed, some pundits opine that he is being underpaid. In my opinion, that would be good for the Packers and ultimately good for Rodgers, too.