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ESPN's Adam Schefter on Rodgers, Matthews, Finley

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ESPN's Adam Schefter on Rodgers, Matthews, Finley

Adam Schefter, ESPN's master broker of NFL information, spoke his opinion on new deals for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews and the future of Jermichael Finley during a 15-minute radio segment with ESPN Milwaukee's Alex Petakas Saturday.

As the narrative has continued for most of the offseason, Schefter maintained that a mega-deal for Rodgers—expected to land in the $23-25 million a year range—is still a matter of when, not if.

"Clearly, they have not been able to agree on final numbers, and when you're putting together a deal that big and that large, you want to make sure that everyone is getting everything they want," Schefter said. "It's not as if there's a rush to get this deal done. It's not a question of if it's going to get done, it's a question of when it's going to get done. It will get done some point this offseason."

The "when" part of the equation remains cloudy.

While reported that Rodgers prefers his new deal to be done by Monday, April 15—or the start of the Packers' offseason workouts—Schefter predicted that an agreement could come sometime next month, after the NFL draft.

"If I had to guess, maybe a month from now—shortly after the draft—the two sides would be able to wrap up something," Schefter said.

Asked if Rodgers' new deal would be soon eclipsed by the next big quarterback contract, Schefter said that the next quarterback who could threaten his place atop of the contract hierarchy would likely be either Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson. Rodgers will likely secure at least $2-3 million more per year than Joe Flacco's current $20.1 million-a-year deal.

Schefter also expects an agreement with Matthews to be completed at some point this offseason. The money included in such a deal is still expected to make Matthews the highest paid linebacker in football.

"That deal is also going to get done. And it will get done before training camp, and it will come in north of $13 million a year," Schefter said. "Not if, but when."

Looking for a theory on the holdup for Matthews' deal, which has reportedly been "close" and forthcoming for the last two weeks? Schefter has one, although he admits no inside information in formulating his guess.

"They may be so close to Clay Matthews, and this is just a theory, I'm just guessing, that maybe they are waiting for the Aaron Rodgers deal to get done, and then they can just announce it both together and say, 'Here are our guys. They will be here the next 5-7 years. Packers for life. Great day in Green Bay. Let's go on with the rest of our offseason.'"

The Packers currently have $17.46 million in available cap room, which should be enough to fit in both mega deals and the 2013 class of rookies.

In the end, Schefter said he doesn't sense much worry in negotiations from either side.

"Both of those deals are when deals. When do they get done? Both are going to get done," Schefter said. "There doesn't seem to be much of a concern or much of an issue."

Shifting gears slightly, Petakas asked about the impending future of Finley, who will play in Green Bay in 2013 but has an indefinite future after next season. Schefter said it's on Finley to dictate where he's playing in 2014 and beyond.

"I think that's up to Jermichael Finley. Talent is not the issue for him. It's never been the issue with him," Schefter said. "It's whether he's going dedicate himself and commit himself to becoming this player he has the potential to be. And if he does that, he'll make himself so valuable that Green Bay will either want re-sign him or put the tag on him."

Finley will make $8.75 million in 2013. The franchise tag for tight ends in 2013 will be just $6.7 million, a relative bargain compared to other positions. However, Finley would be in line for a franchise tag value of over $10 million in 2014, thanks to the CBA provision that—in Finley's case—demands a tag be worth at least 120 percent of his prior year's cap number.

However, Finley could make such a decision worth discussion if he produces a season in 2013 that lives up to his immense and mostly untapped potential.

"To me, it's all up to him. The skills, talents and gifts are all there. What is he going to do to get the most out of himself? What is he going to do to maximize that ability he has?," Schefter said. "There are not many players who have those kind of abilities. It's flashed, at times. But it has not been consistent enough."

"And if he can get it to be consistent, it's going to be a win-win for the Green Bay Packers."

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lars's picture

With Rodgers and Mathews taking up to 30% of the total cap, how can the packers expect to keep Finley the highest paid TE in the NFL, which is what he is in 2013? And, if they do---say goodbye to Raji, and one of Nelson/Jones.

Even with Pickett coming off the books, it doesn't work with Finley. That's why I think the Packers draft one of Eifert, Ertz or Vance McDonald.

aussiepacker's picture

I think your right. I just cant see the packers paying finley big dollars after this year.

Stroh's picture

I can see it for a couple reasons. Pickett comes off the books, even tho they would re-sign him to would be at a much lower salary. The rest can go straight to Raji if he gets much of a raise. That might save 2M. Hawk is quite possibly playing his last year in GB, that would save another 5M. Its very possible Bishop doesn't recover completely and its his last year in GB too. That's another 3 or 4M. And what about Tramon? He's a big cap hit too.

Finley, even if he has a really good year, isn't likely to have a cap number of 8M, more likely to be 6.5 or 7M on a long term contract. So an extension w/ Finley might save cap space.

Even if only 1/2 of that occurs, we could trim 7-10M if not more.

Thompson doesn't let talented players well short of 30 yrs old walk. Its against his M.O.

2 share owner's picture

Agreed Stroh, We will have cap room for Ragi, unless his agent fills his head with bull$#!?.... Tramon is in his last year in GB me thinks.

2 share owner's picture

err Raji that is...haha

Stroh's picture

No I don't think Raji is in his last year in GB! WHere did you get that idea, it wasn't from me. Tramon might if his shoulder hasn't fully recovered and he plays similar to '10.

DrewTheDraftGuru's picture

Finley won't even get $6.5-$7 million on a long-term deal. The cap hit of Rob Gronkowski is an average of less than $7 million per year right now over his 8-year contract. On top of that, NWE can cut Gronk after the 2016 season and save an average of about $11 million per season over 3 seasons. If they do that, Gronk will only end up making around $5.5 million per year on average. So I highly doubt Finley will go for $6.5-7 million per year. Maybe something like $5 million per year.

Stroh's picture

That's an 8 year contract tho. Finley won't get more than 4 or 5. The longer the contract the higher the guaranteed money and less the yearly compensation. That's why Finleys contract is at 8M. It was only a 2 yr deal. When you do short term you pay a premium, when you do long, like Gronk, you give more guaranteed money and security for the player, so a less yearly salary is the offset.

That's pretty standard for contract. Longer is at a better rate, shorter is at a premium rate.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I understand how contracts work, but the end of Gronk's contract, and by end I mean the final 3 years, (which structure is very important as well) has no guaranteed money. You seem to be arguing for my point. If Finley gets a longer contract with higher guaranteed money like you said then his average would be lower meaning he shouldn't be making $7 million per year. That's Vernon Davis type money. Davis' contract is only 6 years as well.

DraftHobbyist's picture

Oh, and I was DrewTheDraftGuru...sorry, I changed my name.

Stroh's picture

If Gronks contract is going to be cut short it will probably be due to injury. Even if he sees 5 yrs thats a long NFL contract. So in return for a long (5+ yrs) he's getting about a 7M. I would say that's a little below market considering Davis signed his 2 yrs before, but its also 2 yrs longer, so it kind of even out. If he plays out the contract its almost 7M per. Gronk only has the one terrific yr, so Davis is more proven/consistent and Gronk also has off-field antics that probably concern the Pats some. Gronks could be cut shorter at 5 yrs, but I don't see why it would.

Davis's contract is ONLY 6 yrs? That's a really long contract by NFL standards. Davis and Finley are similar type players. Tho Davis is certainly a more well rounded player. Davis should be paid higher than Finley and based on what I see he's getting 7.1M per over 6 yrs, compared to Finley's 7M over 2.

I'll stand by the 6.5M for Finley if he signs a 4 or 5 yr deal. That's certainly quite a bit less than the 8.25M Finley is getting this year, and less than either Gronk or Davis are getting on longer deals and he's not as accomplished or well rounded as either. IMO, like I mentioned Gronk signed a little below market contract, especially the 1st 5 yrs. Gronks goes up quite a bit right about the time Brady will be retiring and the cap will probably be going up, so the Pats will probably have little difficulty paying him or having to restructure again. If Finley signs for more than 5 yrs I can see it being 6M or so. I doubt Thompson would sign Finley for more than 5 yrs tho. Seems to me, Finley got a premium 7M on 2 yrs, compared to the much longer deals for Davis and Gronk, who are both quite a bit better.

Stroh's picture

"However, Finley would be in line for a franchise tag value of over $10 million in 2014, thanks to the CBA provision that—in Finley’s case—demands a tag be worth at least 120 percent of his prior year’s cap number."

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the 120% is in the 2nd year of the franchise tag. That means next year, tag Finley at 6.7M or whatever the cap number is for a TE, then in 2015, after already being tagged for '14, the '15 tag would be 120%.

Zach Kruse's picture

The way I interpret his tag, Finley will make the higher amount of the following two options: The NFL's determined one-year amount (likely around $7M after 2013), or 120 percent of his prior year's cap number (120 percent of $8.75M). The 120 percent of his current cap number will be higher, no?

Kevin Seifert talked about it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/37302/digging-deeper-into-cal...

I might need to ask around to ensure this is correct.

MarkinMadison's picture

Well, if this is correct it explains why he was so vocal about not taking a pay cut for this year - it would also have a huge impact on his $ for next year if the Pack tags him.

BTW, thanks for using "ensure" instead of "insure."

DraftHobbyist's picture

You are right Zach. There is also an issue of whether Finley is considered a TE or WR by the league. If he's considered a WR that tag number was $10.537 million this year.

Imran's picture

Raji is part of the core. He cant go. IMO WRs will never be a problem in GB. People keep thinking that TT is a WR guru. Its not him. Its Rodgers. He makes all those guys great. In reality our wrs over the last few years have been top 5 in drops if not #1. Rodgers would make a star out of any wr who can run a route and catch.

Stroh's picture

Agree Raji is staying. I wouldn't discount the WR tho. Rodgers certainly makes them all better, but every WR Thompson has drafted has excelled well beyond his draft status. That's not all due to Rodgers.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I think you are understating the talent we have at WR. Aaron Rodgers fires some of those balls and some of the clutch grabs Greg Jennings made in 2010 wouldn't have been made by a lot of WR's. In 2012, James Jones outfought DB after DB for jump balls that probably should've been INT. We all know how electrifying Randall Cobb can be. Cobb would be good on any team. In fact, most of our WR's would be good on any team. Our #3 could be a #2 on most teams.

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