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  • Falling in line with the likes of Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers is the latest quarterback to earn a massive payday.
By Jonathan Jones
August 29, 2018

Aaron Rodgers is the highest-paid player in the National Football League for a second time in his career, and if he plays at the same kind of level Tom Brady is pioneering at 41 years old, it won’t be the last time he gets a big payday.

Rodgers and the Packers agreed to a four-year, $134-million contract extension that can be worth up to $180 million if he hits all his incentives, per ESPN. Rodgers gets $67 million in guaranteed money by the end of this calendar year, and he’ll eventually make $80 million total by the start of the new league year on March 17, 2019. The deal, which was struck with two years left on Rodgers’s current contract, will keep the franchise quarterback in Green Bay through the 2023 season, during which he’ll turn 40 years old.

The two-time MVP has the best passer rating (103.8) in NFL history, the highest touchdown percentage (6.4) among all active quarterbacks and the lowest interception percentage (1.6) in league history.

The Packers have made the playoffs every year except last year since Rodgers’s second season as the starter in 2009, and won the Super Bowl in ’10. In 2017 Rodgers broke his collarbone in the sixth game of the season. He returned in Week 15 when the 7-6 Packers had an outside chance at the playoffs, but a 31-24 loss at Carolina ended the Packers’ playoff hopes and Rodgers’s season.

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Rodgers told our Albert Breer that he wants to start in the 2024 season, and if that holds up, Rodgers—who has made $138.7 million in career earnings before this contract—could surpass Peyton Manning in career on-field earnings. Manning made an NFL-high $248.7 million in on-field earnings in his 18-season career.

This offseason, Kirk Cousins changed the game for quarterbacks (especially free-agent quarterbacks) when he signed a three-year deal worth $84 million in fully guaranteed money. Later, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan became the highest-paid player when he inked a $150-million extension with Atlanta. Both the Packers and Rodgers expressed a hope all offseason to get a deal done, and it was widely understood that the total money and guaranteed money of this deal would surpass both quarterbacks, who combined have one MVP title and no rings.

Back in 2013, Rodgers signed a five-year extension with the Packers worth $110 million, making him the highest-paid player at that time, right around when top-tier quarterbacks were starting to break the $20 million per year barrier. Five years later, Rodgers and Ryan have shattered the $30 million per year barrier. As the salary cap continues to rise, and as quarterback remains the most important position in all of sports, could $40 million per year for a quarterback be in the near future?

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