When Tony Romo signed a contract extension last Friday which contained $55 million in guaranteed money, people burned things. That’s more guaranteed cash than what’s included in Joe Flacco’s contract ($52 million), and it’s more guaranteed money than what’s contained in nearly every contract ever. It put Romo behind only Tom Brady ($57 million guaranteed), and he’s tied with Drew Brees.
As far as guaranteed money is concerned — and in the NFL, that’s the most important element in any contract — Romo was deemed to be more valuable than Flacco, and equal to Brees. The former claim isn’t necessarily wrong, because if we acknowledge Romo’s hiccups in the playoffs and during many other moments when the spotlight is shining brightly, we can also acknowledge that the quarterback wins stat is a poor way to judge a pivot’s performance. That’s what partly led to Flacco’s inflated guaranteed money, as while he was brilliant and he’s young, putting him in the same financial territory as Brees and Peyton Manning with his $20.1 million annually is a product of a culture that pays based on recency.
The going rates for Romo and Flacco are about to combine and they’ll give Aaron Rodgers some serious bank, as earlier this afternoon we were given a better idea of how much more Rodgers will cement his status as a member of the 1%.
Along with teammate Clay Matthews (whose new contract will reportedly pay him $13 million annually), Rodgers is due to give the ol’ extension wheel a spin. Without an extension, Rodgers will be set to enter a contract season a year from now, a scenario the Packers simply won’t tolerate. In fact, they’re scrambling to get deals done now, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that the agents for both Rodgers and Matthews want negotiations completed before Green Bay’s offseason workouts begin on April 15. That’s in less than two weeks.
And when Rodgers agrees to that deal, he’ll be paid an average of $25 million per year, according to both Schefter and league-wide speculation. That would easily be the heaviest annual salary in league history, destroying the watermark just set by Flacco.
This proves that there’s justice in our world, but it also shows how far the inflation of QB contracts has come, thanks largely to Flacco and his great timing. Rodgers should make much more than Flacco and Romo, but with the growth of these deals, we’ll soon enter a period when QB contracts increasingly become anchors, and guttings similar to the one Baltimore experienced this offseason may be more common.