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Is Matthew Stafford the Anti-Aaron Rodgers?

Aaron Rodgers vs. Rams

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

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Jessica Tandy April 17, 2013

    Great article – Brady did something similar. I don’t want to hear anymore “you would do the same thing in that situation”. There are other QBs in this situation who realize that taking less means the organization can get better talent around them. But, this goes with Ted’s philosophy of having a couple good players and then signing people off other team’s practice squads to make sure we have 11 on each side of the ball and no one has to go iron man… oh shit, I probably just gave Ted an idea to save money… Strike that!

    1. rkxlv April 17, 2013

      What Brady did was agree to a restructuring that actually pays him more money overall than his existing contract. Stafford hasn’t produced anything in his career, so there’s no chance of him signing one of these massive contracts, anyway. Believing that either of them is making some kind of sacrifice is a joke.

  2. jimmy April 17, 2013

    i honestly believe ted thompson is a piece of shit. vince lombardi is turning in his grave. how can we settle on having the highest paid quarterback in the league instead of championships. all i care about is championships. rodgers has shown that he’s top tier, but he’s not capable of doing it alone, no one is. the organization was here before rodgers and will be here long after he’s gone. no one is bigger than the franchise. unfortunately he will get his franchise breaking pay day under the false pretense that ted “jean shorts” thompson is a good drafter and all will be good. we need a manger with balls.

    1. Abe Frohman April 17, 2013

      okay….other than spouting cliche’s, what’s your solution? Pull a Judge Smails and say “you’ll get nothing and like it?” How do we win a championship without Rodgers? When you’ve got THAT answer, let’s talk.

    2. Packer Bob April 17, 2013

      I think we can all agree that in this day and age you need a solid QB to win a championship. Unless you wanna put all your chips on drafting a QB in the next couple years, Rodgers is gonna be your best option to win one.

    3. Iltarion April 17, 2013

      A “manger with balls”?

      You mean the kind of guy that would trade Brett Favre and go with an unproven back up? THAT kind of balls?

      TT won you a championship so STFU.

    4. CactusJim April 17, 2013

      no one is stopping you from cheering on a team with lots of cap space and no QB…. there’s always the Browns/Chiefs/Bills you can go cheer for…

  3. Packer Bob April 17, 2013

    It’s the cost of doing business. If you don’t pay him now then you probably lose him to free agency next year. What is that worth? If his level of play declines then you draft a QB and hope you hit again. What else can you do? It would be nice if he agreed to take less money. But he is in the prime of his career and is arguable the best QB in the NFL. Why would he do that? For us it seems like another Superbowl ring would be worth it. Take less money and get some better players. But that’s not reality. This is his job and he wants to be appropriately compensated. Is $25M/year too much? Yeah, probably. But if we don’t pay him somebody else will.

    Also, up to this point the Packers have gotten a great deal on Rodgers. I think he made $8M last year. But at some point all great players are going to command a big paycheck. Assuming his level of play continues, imagine what Russell Wilson will want when his rookie contract expires. It might not be top QB money, but right now Seattle paying him less than $500K/year. That’s a steal.

    Great article, by the way. These are really good questions.

    1. Savage57 April 17, 2013

      Leave Rodgers contract as is. He claims he’s a ‘high road’ guy and wouldn’t make his current contract an issue. OK, then let him play in 2013 and 2014 under his 2008 deal for roughly $10MM for each of those two years. Think he’ll be able to make do and get by on that? Then tag his ass for 2015 for another +/-$22MM.

      The Packers would have $42MM tied up in Rodgers and be able to suck the best remaining three years out of him for about $14MM per season. Then let him walk when he’s 32. The Pack will have gotten the lion’s share of his value without breaking the bank. Plus and this is a huge PLUS, there’d also be enough money left in the payroll to pay some other players with something other than AR’s tip money.

      Draft a guy like Landry Jones in the 3rd or 4th this year and make Rodgers develop his replacement just like Favre was supposed to. Then go about building the team to go without AR in 2016.

      Packers save around $60MM and TT is finally forced to act like an NFL GM and build a balanced team that consistently is a threat to win championships and not just a prick tease of a team that’s 100% defined by how well or how poorly their QB plays. Yeah he got hot as shit in 2010, but in the last two divisional playoff games against the Giants and 49ers, Rodgers has pretty much shit the bed.

      1. LaTony April 17, 2013

        I’m sorry, but this has got to be the dumbest suggestion on this board. Replace Aaron Rodgers with Landry f’n Jones? At 32, Rodgers is still going to be at the top of his game, do you not notice that ALL of the top 5 QB’s are over 30 (excluding Rodgers). He’s the best at what he does, he needs to be paid as such, it’s simple logic. We’re not winning without Rodgers, it just ain’t gonna happen. There is no one in this league or the draft who we can replace him with, I don’t see it. This team IS a threat to reach the super bowl year in and year out BECA– — USE of Rodgers. Getting rid of him will do nothing but make the team worse, much worse.

        Like it or not, Rodgers is gonna be a Packer until he retires. And I guarantee we will win AT LEAST one more ring before he goes, at the minmum. This team is too good not to, we just a consistent o-line and running game. The defense is young and getting better (ranked 11th last year with mostly rookies and second years), the receiving core is gonna be good as long as Rodgers is the QB. We don’t need a bunch of money to throw around free agency, how many teams have won Super Bowls doing that? None. The last 8 champions where teams who drafted, developed and didn’t make much noise in free agency. They paid they’re best players, and let the ones who THOUGHT they were more than they were worth (ala Greg Jennings) walk.

        And as for your notion that he “shit the bed” against the Giants and 49ers. Let me walk you back through those games. 8 dropped passes in the 2011 Divisional Game against the Giants, two dropped touchdowns, and the game got away from Green Bay. Rodgers made one mistake in that game (missing Jennings wide open and fumbling the ball) but that game attributes more to that 32nd ranked defense and those dropped passes. Now, onto the Divisional game against the 49ers. Packers leading 14-7, 49ers punt, Jeremy Ross fumbles, 49ers get momentum back and tie the game. At half time, the score was 24-21. Rodgers did what he could to score on that 49ers defense while the Niners offense torched our D. Then, the defense collapses and let’s Kapernick run for 59-yards, basically ending the game for us. Rodgers, completed 67% of his passes, and threw two touchdowns. He made ONE Brett Favre-like mistake by the chucking the ball right into Whitner’s hands. Did he play like an MVP? No. But as I recall, the defense gave up 45 points and 300 rushing yards. Packers offense scored 31, you shouldn’t lose when scoring 31 points. That’s on that defense.

        At the end of the day, Rodgers deserves what he’s worth. And people need to stop comparing what Stafford said about taking less, Stafford isn’t worth anywhere near what Rodgers is. So who cares what he takes, the Lions are a worse team than the Packers, they NEED more help. GB just needs a few tweaks.

        1. SHODAN April 17, 2013

          Just a note: Shields scored 6 of those Packer points. Otherwise, I think I generally agree with your sentiments.

        2. Savage57 April 18, 2013

          Read carefully – this time I’ll go slower. Next time, before you call someone out for “posting the dumbest suggestion on this board” and advancing an idea that you might not agree with, take the time to try and digest a divergent, but objective viewpoint that differs from your own. Once you can do that you will have passed one of the litmus tests of possessing intelligence.

          The premise here is that AR is so good the team should throw a shit pile of money at him, and then with what’s left, have 52 other players split the remaining 80% of the payroll. And that will be the formula for success?

          Wrong. What I am saying is NOT to get rid of Rodgers. It’s to pay him $42MM for three years, not $60MM (probable guaranteed amount for the first three years of a new deal) for the same time period. To retain his services at the rates he agreed to for 2013 and 2014, then use the mechanism that the league and the Players Union agreed to in the CBA and place the franchise tag on him for 2015. And having done that, then use the money they save on some other players such as OL, DL, RB, S that are something other than marginal utility players who might actually be able to play at a high level for an extended period of time and help the Packers WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP.

          My whole point here is that while having a stud QB is good and necessary, by itself it is not enough. And if you take the payroll hostage by paying such an inordinate percentage of it to one or two players in the most quintessentially team game, your chances of succeeding are tied solely to the success or failure of those one or two players. I just think those are shitty odds. C’mon now, be honest here about this team: the OL sucks out loud – they consistently lead in sacks allowed and can hardly average 3 yards per carry rushing. There is no reliable running game to speak of – every team in the league knows that on 3rd and 3, the Packers HAVE TO pass the ball. The run defense gets torched on a regular basis while making record breaking performances against them commonplace and the back end is average at best.

          They straight up got hot and they got lucky in 2010. Since you like to live in fantasy ‘what if’ land, what if Cutler doesn’t get hurt in the NFC title game? Does he make the same read as Hanie and throw the pick 6 to Fatso that was the difference in the game? Probably not. 9 times out of 10, AR misses the tackle on Urlacher that saved a TD. So the SB win in 2010 goes out the window as a fluke, cuz they wouldn’t have even gotten there.

          I can’t believe the optimistic bullshit Kool-Aid that Packer fans have bought into about how this team is built since that one fluky season. TT and MM should get Salesman of the Year awards for shoveling this shit on Packer fans and making them believe it. Draft and develop my ass. More like draft, miss and dump, and sign undrafted free agents and make do. Year after year this team that’s full of other team’s cast-offs and guys not even worth drafting is good in a shitty division, but not great and great is what it takes to consistently win championships. I’ll take that over ‘getting hot at the right time’, every time.

          And here’s where it really gets paradoxical. You hail your man AR as the single reason they won it all and will have chance to do so in the future, yet when he hasn’t done just that you defend him relentlessly without regard to reason and justification. As it is, Rodgers is 1-4 in delivering championships in seasons that he’s started. As I learned as a kid, it has to be one or the other – you can’t claim that he deserves the world because that’s why they win, but when they don’t, defend him and point to other aspects of the team that are lacking as the causes. It’s called Circular Logic and Reasoning. And rationalizing. And Packer fans are guilty of it in spades.

          Here’s his numbers in Divisional games the last two years. 2012 was average, 2011 was shitty. And look, you guys are the one advancing the idea that this guy is so good, so essential that the Packers need to bankrupt the team to pay this guy, so he should be able to win all this stuff every year by himself right? All the Packers need is a stud QB.

          2012 vs 49er’s

          26 of 39 for 257 yds 2 TD’s 1 pick 91.5 rating

          2011 vs Giants

          26 of 46 for 264 yds 2 TD’s 1 pick 78.5 rating

          Shitty offensive line – check
          Inept running game – check
          Embarrassingly bad run defense – check
          One of the best passing attacks in the league – regular season, check – playoffs not so much
          QB contract that keeps the team handcuffed solely to him, good or bad – check

          You had better keep saying your prayers that the sieve offensive line stays lucky and that AR stays healthy. He goes down and there is nothing left…nothing…nothing at all…

          GO PACK GO

  4. Jeff H April 17, 2013

    “…and that’s why Stafford has to take less money..” – Or maybe cuz he’s shit?!

  5. Jon Mallaber April 17, 2013

    Raji, Matthews, Lang, Jones, Bulaga, Burnett, Cobb, House, Smith, Perry, Worthy, Hayward, plus another dozen others still on the team and improving. The last few years of drafts are ok at best? Have you even watched a game in the last 4 years? In the last 4 years the Packers are 47-17 in the regular season with 4 consecutive trips to the playoffs and a Super Bowl win. Stick to ripping on Jay Cutler and the Vikings and leave the analysis to the people living in reality.

    1. CactusJim April 17, 2013

      You forgot to mention our Undrafted Guys like Shields/Barlcay/Dujuan/Moses/etc.

      Our guys do a great job in the draft, look at our draft class these last 4-5 years and compare it to the falcons or steelers, they wish they could draft as well as us.

    2. rkxlv April 17, 2013

      Exactly my thoughts! Thompson has drafted very well, and has brought the team great success with the very management approach that some people like to malign.

  6. ballz April 17, 2013

    thank you jon mallaber for speaking some sense and APPRECIATING THE TEAM. people… be happy you weren’t born a browns fan, or a chargers fan, or a jags fan… really just be happy you cheer for one of the finest teams in the league and quit bitching… other team’s fans would kill to have a qb like rodgers. without a good qb a team is nothing in this league.

    1. Jessica Tandy April 17, 2013

      Joe Flacco sucks and he won the superbowl.

      1. Iltarion April 17, 2013

        Flacco was pretty fricking good in the playoffs. Not sure if you saw them.

        1. Jessica Tandy April 17, 2013

          So now you are judging players and teams on how they do in the playoffs? Pick a viewpoint and stick with it! All you do is tout how the Pack went 15-1 and that TT is a genius. But now, Flacco, who is usually average at best in the regular season, is awesome because he wins in the playoffs? You are a moron.

  7. Iltarion April 17, 2013

    I don’t need Rodgers to say he’s willing to take less money to make myself feel better. He has chosen to not talk about his contract, and I am completely fine with that. He showed up to OTAs the same as everyone else, even without a new contract.

    Again, the final numbers on these contracts are mostly fictional. Joe Flacco’s REAL deal is 3 years for $63 million. His cap hit for 2013 is SMALLER than Rodgers’ is right now. So, the total amount of $ and the $ per year really don’t mean anything as far as the cap goes.

    The Packers can easily manage it so that Rodgers and Matthews combined never count for more than $30 million towards the cap. That is less than 1/4th of the total cap. So, the 1/3rd number that Monty uses is obviously an exaggeration.

  8. shopvack April 17, 2013

    Or maybe Stafford isn’t a top ten QB and as such doesn’t merit top ten money?

    1. SHODAN April 17, 2013

      Yeah, this, in a nutshell. It’s not like Stafford proclaiming his willingness to take less than a historically large contract is earth-shaking. NO ONE (read: not a fucking person) was going to throw that kind of money at him anyway. He’s MATTHEW STAFFORD for crying out loud.

      I mean… come on.

  9. Abe Frohman April 17, 2013

    I think the real question is how many people here would work for about 1/3 of what they’re making now and still have a great attitude? Just because the numbers are astronomical does not excuse that.

    I know I wouldn’t like it. Rodgers is worth it. He’s the best player in the league at the most important position. At the end of the day, you want THAT GUY to be happy.

  10. rkxlv April 17, 2013

    The Packers are looking at paying these guys the highest salaries at their positions because they are the best players at their positions, and that’s how much they cost. Rodgers doesn’t have to make some nonsense “good of the team” statement, and he shouldn’t take anything less than he’s worth, anyway. Cap space is Ted thompson’s problem to figure out, not his. And if there’s anyone I am confident can find cheap young talent to fill out the roster, it’s Ted Thompson.

  11. Quincy Mitchell April 17, 2013

    This is a horrible article. These articles comparing these statements or non-statements and using them to compare character is totally ridiculous. Rodgers has been outplaying his contract for the last 4 years watching scrubs like Sanchez get rich extensions they don’t deserve. He’s never once voiced dissatisfaction or mentioned holdouts. With all of the stinginess Thompson displays, don’t you think it’s possible he knows smart ways to structure the deal to minimally impact the salary cap? Thompson has been one of the top 3 GMS in drafting and the Packers are one of the lucky teams to have their bonified franchise quarterback. That’s how you win in the NFL, you find your guy and you do what you can to keep him and keep him happy.

  12. ay hombre April 17, 2013

    Stafford has been overpaid his entire career. Rodgers has been underpaid for most of his.

  13. FITZCORE1252 April 17, 2013

    “and honestly, you want fair market value”

    Sure you do, Matt. And you’ll get it. Probably 16-18 mill. And if you were worth more, you’d take it, but you’re not, so you won’t. Pretty simple.

    This whole story about how Brady took a hit for the team is borderline laughable… If… One actually breaks down the #’s.

    GBP 4 LIFE

  14. Hoops24 April 18, 2013

    Wouldnt call it a shitty division with 3 teams with 10 or more wins.