At some point, Aaron Rodgers will become the newest highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. By most accounts, that formality should happen before the 2018 season kicks off.
Beyond leapfrogging Matt Ryan in average per year and guaranteed money, there are more nuanced aspects of Rodgers' anticipated contract that are worth tracking.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Thursday on Up To The Minute Live that player control is one aspect of the new contract that is extremely important to Rodgers, according to sources briefed on the negotiations. How much built-in control will Rodgers have on his future?
In 2013, Rodgers signed a five-year extension that put him under team control through the 2019 season. Since then, the All-World quarterback has seen some far lesser signal-callers leapfrog him in pay. Rodgers' $22 million per season average ranks 10th among QBs, behind Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Alex Smith and Joe Flacco.
If Rodgers signs another five-year extension, that would put him under team control through 2024 when he's 41 years old. Such a long deal would surely lead to another game of leapfrog in which Rodgers sees worse quarterbacks get paid more.
Garafolo reported Rodgers would like some sort of out clause in an extension that would allow the QB to control his ability to renegotiate a new deal.
One problem in Rodgers earning such an opt-out: Why would the Packers give up leverage?
Currently, Rodgers has two years remaining on his deal. The Packers then hold the ability to franchise tag the quarterback the next two seasons. Green Bay could do nothing and have Rodgers under center for the next four seasons. When you're holding a full house, there are very few hands to which you'd fold.
Kirk Cousins signed a three-year deal with all $84 million guaranteed. The short deal will allow the Vikings QB another shot at a big contract during his prime. He leveraged such a player-friendly deal because he was a free agent. Rodgers doesn't hold such trump cards.
If Rodgers had his way, his new deal would be unlike any contract we've see, Garafolo later added.
How much leverage the Packers concede to the game's most important player will be fascinating when a deal is eventually done.