Saints quarterback Drew Brees made waves through the NFL landscape Friday, agreeing to a five-year, $100 million deal that includes $40 million in the first year and $60 million in guarantees through the first three. The $60 million guaranteed is the most ever in an NFL contract, according to ESPN.
The connection to the Packers here is fairly simple: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is under contract through 2014, and he's already woefully underpaid among his fellow peers. Now, Brees' record deal could be a jumping off point for the negotiations with Rodgers on a new deal he likely deserves soon. For Rodgers, that means a historic pay day is probably in his near future. It's hard to envision the Packers allowing Rodgers to get to a contract year like the Saints did with Brees.
With that in mind, we took a look at some of the contracts currently tied to the game's top quarterbacks. It paints a pretty clear picture for the reining NFL MVP:
Note: All contract information taken from Rotoworld.com.
Six years, $65 million, including $20 million in guarantees. Signed October 2008, the deal expires after the 2014 season. Over the next three years, Rodgers will make $8 million, $9.25 million and $10.5 million, respectively.
Drew Brees, Saints
Touched on above, but it's worth repeating. Brees' $100 million deal over five years will net him a record $40 million in the first year. If those reported numbers are true, Brees will make $32 million more than Rodgers next season. Over the next three, Brees will make $33.25 million more than Rodgers.
Tom Brady, Patriots
Five years, $78.5 million, including $48.5 million in guarantees. Brady signed the extension in September of 2010, and, at the time, it was scheduled to make Brady the highest paid player in the game based on annual salary. That has obviously changed drastically since, and his contract now looks like a bargain. In each of the next three seasons, Brady will make upwards of $11 million, with $14.75 million coming in both 2013 and 2014. He'll be a free agent in 2015, just as Rodgers.
Peyton Manning, Broncos
Five years, $96 million, with $18 million guarantees. The guarantees can increase to $60 million if he passes a physical in 2013. His 2012 dollars ($18 million) are all guaranteed, and his 2013 and '14 base salaries ($20 million in each year) can become guaranteed if he passes said physical. From that point, Manning will make $19 million in both 2015 and '16, before becoming a free agent in 2017. Manning will be 41 by the time his contract reaches its end.
Eli Manning, Giants
Seven years, $106.9 million, with $35 million in guarantees. Manning signed the deal back in 2009 after he recorded one of his best ever NFL seasons (4,021 yards, 27 TDs, 14 INTs). He'll make $10.75 million in 2012, but then his deal takes a hike up. He's scheduled to make $13 million in 2013, $15.15 in 2014 and $17 million in 2015.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Seven years, $98.25 million, with $38.15 million guaranteed. Like Manning, Rivers signed the deal in 2009 after his best ever NFL season in 2008 (34 TDs, 11 INTs). Rivers will make $10.2 million in 2012, $12 million in 2013, $13.8 million in 2014 and $15.75 million in 2015. He'll be a free agent in 2016.
Michael Vick, Eagles
Six years, $100 million, with $35.5 million guaranteed. His sixth year (and the accompanying $20 million) will void once he plays 35 percent of the Eagles' offensive snaps in any of the first five years. Overall, Vick will make $12.5 million in 2012, $15.5 million in 2013, $15 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Eight years, $102 million, with $33.2 million in guarantees. He'll make over $11 million in each of the next four seasons, topping out at $12.1 million in 2014. Roethlisberger will be a free agent in 2016.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Rodgers has outplayed his current contract. In fact, he's probably the NFL's best bargain right now. But that won't last for long, and it's just a matter of time before Rodgers is joining the likes of Brees and Manning among the game's highest paid players ever.
Still, Rodgers has said his contract isn't a worry, and there's no reason not to believe him. He told this ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde last November:
It's not something I think about. We were so blessed to be able to have that contract done in 2008. We knew at the time that was more money than I ever could have imagined signing for, and it was a no-brainer for me. But we knew if I performed the way I felt I was capable of performing, that by league standards that by the time I got into my third or fourth or fifth season, that I'd be underpaid by league standards....I want to retire as a Packer. They know that, the fans know that, my teammates know that, and this is where I want to be. I'm not worried about [a new contract.] We're still a few years away from me completing this deal, and whenever it comes time to make a new deal, I'm looking forward to maybe signing my last deal, playing it out, and retiring.
I don't expect anything immediate on the Rodgers' contract front. But David Dunn, who represents Rodgers, now has a starting point for any kind of extension talks with his client. Time will tell how rapid that process plays out.