Is Matthew Stafford the Anti-Aaron Rodgers?
They both can sling it around, but that’s about where the similarities between Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers end. Rodgers trumps Stafford in both personal and team accomplishments. He’s also going to trump Stafford in salary when he signs his new contract.
We’ve long discussed those idiotic contract extension numbers flying around for quarterbacks this offseason. Rodgers is expected to get a deal that will make him the highest-paid player in the NFL by far.
And then we always ask the question, at what cost?
When the Packers pay Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, who’s also reportedly getting an extension that will make him one the league’s highest-paid linebackers, they’ll have given close to one-third of their salary cap to two guys. So basically, everyone else on the Packers roster gets to make the league minimum or fuck off.
We’re exaggerating somewhat, but you probably get the picture.
That doesn’t really bode well for fielding a highly-competitive team unless you draft really, really well. And the Packers have drafted okay at best in the past couple years. If that trend continues, they’re in real trouble.
Obviously, these financial realities are not lost on some guys. Tom Brady restructured his deal earlier this offseason to give the Patriots more salary cap flexibility, saying that he wanted his team to stay competitive for the rest of his career.
Stafford is also going to get a new deal, and he’s taking the Brady route.
“I want talent around me, frankly,” he said. “You see guys breaking records with how much they’re making and all that stuff, and honestly, you want fair market value, but I don’t really care about breaking records too much. I want to break records on the field.
“I want to win games and have as many good players around me as I possibly can.”
That makes you wonder — what does Aaron Rodgers want?
Well, up to this point, you’d have to guess he wants money. And wanting to be the highest-paid player in the league kind of fits with the Rodney Dangerfield card he’s been pulling since the 2005 draft, doesn’t it?
We all know Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game, but does that mean he has to be paid $25 million per season, which is the rumored number? Couldn’t he be paid $21 million per season so he eclipses Joe Flacco‘s asinine deal by about $1 million per season instead of $4 million?
Or, couldn’t he just stand up and say something like Stafford did?
Yes, all of those things could be done, but they’re not being done. Certainly, we’ll reserve judgment until the deal is done, but it certainly feels like one that’s going to severely limit the Packers options in the future.
You could argue that the Packers have more talent than teams like the Lions already and that’s why Stafford has to take less money — because his team isn’t competitive now. That may be valid, but two guys a team do not make and I don’t care if those two guys are Joe Montana and Reggie White.
If they’re surrounded by crap because the organization can’t afford to pay other good players, the team isn’t going to win games.
Now, if the Packers are insisting on these highest-paid-at-your-position type contract numbers — and there are some suggestions that they are — then why wouldn’t the player take them. Then that’s just stupid on the Packers’ part.
Either way, it’s something to think about as you peer into the future.
Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.