If Aaron Rodgers was still hosting Jeopardy!, the answer in the form of a question on Monday would be: “What is ‘market altering?’”
According to ESPN, market altering is what sources indicate is about to impact every quarterback in the NFL that is seeking a new deal, based on a multi-year offer the Green Bay Packers have submitted to their mercurial quarterback to keep him in green and gold – lots of it, apparently – for the next several years.
And while terms of the proposed contract were not available, it’s hard to imagine it won’t approach, or even surpass, the $50 million per year price tag that was floated into the ether before the NFL Combine began last week.
Whatever the numbers might be, and whether Rodgers accepts them to stay in Green Bay, there is one very interested observer in Arizona. Make that, two observers.
Kyler Murray and his agent want Rodgers money, and aren’t shy about asking
If the Rodgers-Packers drama has been quarterback story No. 1 this offseason, the curious goings-on in Arizona has to be a close second.
Not long after the Arizona Cardinals’ late-season collapse concluded with a Super Wild Card Weekend loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, quarterback Kyler Murray raised a lot of eyebrows by scrubbing his social media platforms of all things Cardinals.
Murray, who still has two years remaining on his original rookie contract, which pays him roughly $9 million per year, has made no secret since his social scrub that he wants a contract extension from the Cardinals, and he wants it before the April NFL Draft.
And in case there was any ambiguity about what Murray, the top overall pick in the 2019 Draft, thinks he’s worth, consider his agent Erik Burkhardt’s tweet about Rodgers when word of the $50 per year offer spilled out last week.
“Frankly, Rogers is worth well more than $50m per …,” Burkhardt tweeted on Feb. 27. “ANNOUNCERS are now making $20m+! To drive to the game, out of harms way, & just talk about QBs/ players! Packers are a top seed contender with Rogers. What are they without him?? 5-6 wins & essentially irrelevant? Pay the man!”
Obviously, the Murray camp is tying their fortunes to those of the Packers’ legend, even as Murray has taken no better than a lateral step in his career since his record-setting rookie season in 2019. And now the bar for quarterback contracts is about to change.
Murray’s contemporaries had set the market, but Rodgers is upping the ante
The quarterbacks most often associated with Murray, in terms of draft class and talent, are Patrick Mahomes, who became the Kansas City Chiefs starter in 2018, and Josh Allen, who was drafted in ’18, the year before Murray.
Both quarterbacks signed massive contract extensions after season 3 of their rookie contracts, a fact clearly not lost on the Murray camp, as the post-third year extension is becoming the new normal for top quarterbacks.
Mahomes’ is now the highest-paid quarterback in terms of overall deal (10 years, $450 million) and annual salary ($45 million). Allen is in second place, with a six-year deal paying $258 million, with an annual salary of $43 million.
Now Rodgers appears poised to eclipse them both, which is music not just to Murray’s ears, but the other top quarterback from 2018 Draft who did not get the coveted third-year extension.
Lamar Jackson is also at a contract crossroads and will want what the market is now bearing
To the best of anyone’s knowledge, Lamar Jackson has not scrubbed his social media accounts of all things Baltimore Ravens. Jackson is about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, and so the urgency for the Ravens to get an extension done is very real.
Jackson’s fifth-year will pay him $23 million, and Jackson, who represents himself, might choose to let the season play out and either become a free agent, or accept a franchise tag, like Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott, and hit the market at a time of his choosing.
And now that Rodgers may be on the verge of pushing quarterback salaries well past the $50 million mark, what’s the rush? The Mahomes and Allen deals might look like bargains by the time Jackson get the biggest payday of them all.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference