By the time you read this, it’s entirely possible Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews will have new contracts. It’s widely assumed they’ll average $25m and $13m a year respectively. That’s $38 million – just to avoid math mixups. Plenty of folks are in a panic about those numbers. They feel each player should take less to help the team.
For the sake of comparison, let’s see how other potential playoff teams are paying their top two players and how it compares to what Green Bay is about to do.
Matt Ryan – $12m (1 season)
Roddy White – $7.7m (2 seasons)
Total – $19.7m
Difference – ($18.3m)
Notes: Ryan is in the last yearof his contract. He may not sign for more than Rodgers, but quite possibly for more than Flacco. Julio Jones will be up in 2 years. That $18 million in extra cap room is all but gone after this year.
Joe Flacco – $20.1m (6 seasons)
Haloti Nata – $14.5m (3 seasons)
Total – $34.6m
Difference – ($3.4m)
Notes: Baltimore also has Suggs at $12.7m for the next two years. They also have to re-sign Michael Oher.
Tony Romo – $19m (7 seasons)
DeMarcus Ware – $16m (3 seasons)
Anthony Spencer – $10.6m (1 season)
Doug Free – $10.2m (4 seasons)
Brandon Carr – $11m (4 seasons)
Jay Ratliff – $8.2m (5 seasons)
Miles Austin – $8.5m (4 seasons)
Jason Witten – $7.4m (5 seasons)
Total – $35m (top 2)
Difference – ($3m)
Notes – The Cowboys are going to have a fire sale after the 2013 season. They also have Dez Bryant up after 2014.
Peyton Manning – $19.5m (4 seasons)
Champ Bailey – $10.8m (2 seasons)
Total – $30.3m
Difference – ($7.7m)
Notes – Ryan Clady and Von Miller will each be signing big contracts in the next 1-2 years..
Matt Shaub – $15.3m (4 seasons)
Andre Johnson – $13.2m (4 seasons)
Total – $28.5m
Notes – Is Rodgers worth $10m/year more than Schaub? Yes. Also, this will change whenever they make JJ Watt the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.
Jared Allen – $17m (1 season)
Adrian Peterson – $14.9m (5 seasons)
Total – $31.9m
Difference – ($7.1m)
Notes – Not sure what they’ll do with Allen, but that’s a lot of money when you don’t have a QB
New England Patriots
Tom Brady – $14.1m (5 seasons)
Vince Wilfork – $11.1m (2 seasons)
Total – $25.2m
Difference – ($9.8m)
Notes – Also have Mankins at $9.6 for 4 years, Mayo at $8.7 for 5 years, Gronk getting PAID in 1-2 years
New York Giants
Eli Manning – $20.3m (3 seasons)
Chris Snee – $10.1m (2 seasons)
Total – $30.4m
Difference – ($7.6m)
Notes – Rolle gets $9.2m/year, Cruz is going to get huge money
Ben Roethlisberger – $16.3m (3 seasons)
LaMarr Woodley – $12.2m (4 seasons)
Total – $28.5m
Difference – ($9.5m)
Notes: Looks good until you add in Ike Taylor ($10m – 2 seasons), Polamalu ($10.5m – 2 seasons), Lawrence Timmons ($10.5m – 4 seasons).
San Francisco 49ers
Vernon Davis – $7.7m (3 seasons)
Carlos Rogers – $8.2m (3 seasons)
Total – $15.9m
Difference – $22.1m
Notes – This is where hitting the jackpot with a rookie or 2nd year QB really can pay off. The 49ers will get hurt in the next couple seasons when Aldon Smith, Michael Crabtree, and Donte Whitner all get new deals along with Patrick Willis getting into the big money part of his deal. They have very few players signed beyond 2014.
Matthew Stafford – $19.1m (3 seasons)
Ndamukon Suh – $15m (3 seasons)
Calvin Johnson – $17.5 (5 seasons)
Total – $51.6m (3 players)
Notes – The Lions are a terrible team, and that’s why I put them in here. Some people may point to them as an example of why it’s bad to give such a large portion of your salary cap (in their case, about 42%) to 2-3 players. However, the careful observer should note that it’s less a burden if you’re giving all that money to the RIGHT players.
In the end, the Packers giving big money to Rodgers/Matthews doesn’t look that out of whack compared to other teams. In the cases where teams are benefiting from signing their stars to long deals 2 or so seasons ago, the difference is about 1 veteran starter worth of cap room.
The Packers do have a lot of contracts coming up in the next couple seasons, but if they move fast they can potentially get some bargains (ie – if they want to keep Newhouse, they probably can do so real cheap. They may get a reasonable deal signing Shields before he has a chance to play 2-3 straight good seasons). Raji is the big question mark, but if they decide not to keep him around that will leave a fair amount of cap room for other signings.