Friday, September 21, 2018

Sports

Packers, Rodgers agree to four-year, $134M extension

  • Packers-Football-16

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is seen at his table during the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Welcome Back Packers Luncheon at Lambeau Field Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 in Green Bay, Wis. (Jim Matthews/The Post-Crescent via AP)

    AP

  • Packers-Preview-Football-12

    FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers gestures during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers just need to keep Rodgers upright and healthy for a full season again. A glimpse at what life is like without Rodgers showed just how precious these windows of opportunity can be with a two-time NFL MVP at quarterback.(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, File)

    AP

Before he became the NFL’s highest-paid player again, Aaron Rodgers wore a denim suit and cowboy hat that made him look as if he were going to serve as a chaperone at a square dance.

For Rodgers, it’s kind of a big deal either way.

The two-time NFL MVP signed a four-year extension with the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday that would keep him under contract through the 2023 season.

The four-year deal is worth $134 million, with more than $100 million in guaranteed money. Rodgers’ former teammate, NFL Network analyst James Jones, first reported the agreement.

Rodgers’ new annual average salary of $33.5 million per year would eclipse Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s five-year extension worth $30 million a year.

“Looking forward to making some more memorable moments this year, and for years to come,” Rodgers posted on an Instagram in a thank you message to the organization, teammates and fans.

Also on Wednesday, the Packers also dealt quarterback Brett Hundley to the Seahawks for an undisclosed draft pick. Green Bay announced the trade late in the day, completing the deal on the cusp of the preseason finales for all teams.

The deal means that DeShone Kizer has won the backup job behind Rodgers. The former second-round pick started 15 games for the winless Cleveland Browns last season as a rookie and was acquired by the Packers in the offseason.

Rodgers turns 35 in December. He signed his previous extension, a five-year deal worth $110 million, before the 2013 season. 

Rodgers had fallen behind in the ever-escalating world of NFL salaries since then, making him a relative bargain. He never voiced concern about his compensation. Both general manager Brian Gutekunst and Rodgers had expressed confidence that a new deal would get done.

Rodgers is healthy again after being limited to seven games last year because of a right collarbone injury. Green Bay flopped without him in 2017 and failed to make the playoffs.

Drafted in the first round by the Packers in the 2005 draft after falling to the 24th overall pick, Rodgers eventually succeeded Brett Favre as starter to give the franchise an unprecedented run of top-notch quarterback play.

Like Favre, he led the Packers to a Super Bowl title, beating the Steelers after the 2010 season. Among other numerous accomplishments, Rodgers is first in NFL history with a career passer rating of 103.8, and first in career interception rate (1.59 percent). He is the only quarterback in league history to throw at least 40 touchdown passes with seven or fewer interceptions in a season, having done it in 2011 and 2016.

He is known for his intensity and preparation on the field. Off the field, he can display a sense of humor too.

Five minutes after thanking fans on Instagram, he posted another message that included a photo of him in a denim tux jacket that was a replica of one worn by actor Bing Crosby in 1951. Rodgers donned the outfit on Wednesday for the annual Packers Welcome Back Luncheon at Lambeau Field.

“Lastly, thanks to genetics that allow me to grow a mustache that even a hero of mine, (actor) Sam Elliott, might be proud of,” Rodgers wrote.

Hundley started nine of 11 games last season when Rodgers was injured. His best game came in Week 13 when he threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Cleveland. But Hundley also had games where he struggled, twice failing to pass for more than 100 yards in losses to New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

Hundley is also entering the final year of his rookie contract and will be a free agent after the season.

The deal could also clear the way for the Packers to keep promising undrafted free agent Tim Boyle as a third quarterback.

“I think I’ve progressed pretty fast. It’s a pretty hard offense. I take pride in the fact that I’m learning every day. Obviously, having (Rodgers) in front of you helps you out a lot,” Boyle said Tuesday. “But it’s a business and I understand that, so whatever happens, happens.”


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