Today Aaron Rodgers got PAID by the Green Bay Packers. To the tune of 4 years, $134 million on an extension. That averages out to $33.5 million per season with $80 million guaranteed.
That per season contract easily blows away the previous NFL high of $30 million which Matt Ryan is now making.
Right now Khalil Mack is looking for an extension that would keep him with the Raiders for the next six years. Since he is the best defensive player in football, he would like to be the highest paid defensive player in football. That would put him over $20 million per season, surpassing the deal Von Miller signed that pays him $19.1 million per season.
Those who would attempt to talk themselves into siding with the organization and being ok with Mack suiting up for another team like to use some familiar tactics to do that.
One of the most common I’ve seen is the suggestion that making Mack the highest paid player at his position would hamstring the Raiders with regard to signing other talented players. Usually that argument includes Derek Carr’s salary and sometimes it includes deals that haven’t even been made yet such as Amari Cooper, who will be up for an extension next year.
I’m here to tell you that is way overblown.
Derek Carr signed an extension last year that made him the highest paid player in NFL history at an average of $25 million per season. Since it was an extension, some of that was put into his final year of his rookie deal, so if you look at his per year salary, he will actually only make $25 million one of those seasons. That’s this season. Every year after that he will make less each year.
Mack’s deal will do the same. They can lump some of it into this season to bring up his $13.8 million if they would like to do so. They have a few million available under the cap with which to do it. So, they can make his salary cap hit lower in successive seasons.
Now consider that with Aaron Rodgers’s deal, Derek Carr’s average of $25 million per season isn’t even in the top five anymore. This is just a YEAR removed, mind you. Before Carr can even play on the first season of his extension, he is already outside the top five. That’s how quickly these record deals become no big deal at all.
Add that the salary cap goes up every year, so what might be, say, $40 million between Carr and Mack each season, will represent a smaller percentage of the overall cap amount each year.
This offseason the Raiders went with quantity over quality in their free agent signings. They did that to try and fill the team with guys Gruden and his staff like. That won’t happen again, at least not like it did this offseason. From here on out, Gruden will try to fill his team with his draft picks. And that means also paying those who become stars in order to keep them in a Raiders uniform. It’s not like Khalil Macks come around every year, so there is no need to do any hand wringing about a year into the future.
Reggie McKenzie came over from the Packers. His mindset is in line with their mindset. They just locked in the best QB in football likely for the rest of his career on a groundbreaking contract. And you can bet the Packers wouldn’t make such a deal if they were worried it would kill their chances to add or keep other talented players. There should be no difference with regard to the best defensive player in football in Oakland.