Before Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees sign with their respective clubs this offseason, might Aaron Rodgers beat them toward setting the market rate?
The Green Bay Packersare making progress on signing Rodgers to a new contract, Packers president Mark Murphy told ESPN's Rob Demovsky on Tuesday. Murphy added that new general manager Brian Gutekunst and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball are both involved in the negotiations.
"We've had discussions with his representative," Murphy explained. "I have a lot of confidence in Brian and Russ and Aaron as well. We want to create a win-win."
Gutekunst added on Wednesday that the teams hopes to "hammer out" an extension this offseason.
Rodgers has two years left on a five-year, $110 extension signed in 2013. When he inked the pact, he was the league's highest-paid player. Now? Not so much. Currently, that man is Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5M); before him, Matthew Stafford ($27M); and before him, Derek Carr ($25M). All three quarterbacks have received new mega-deals within the past calendar year.
If Rodgers were to sign before free agency opened on March 14, or at least before prospective free agents Cousins and Bress sign their new contracts, he would have the opportunity to own the short-termed title of "highest-paid player in the NFL."
Rodgers is slated to make around $20M in each of the final two years of his deal. The Packers rank in the bottom 10 teams in cap space heading into free agency with around $19.3M to spare.
The 34-year-old future Hall of Famer has stated before that he wants to play into his 40s, and if mounting injuries don't slow him down, he could certainly do so, and at a high clip; like Rodgers might set the market for free-agent QBs, Patriots QB Tom Brady has set the standard for aging greats.
How Green Bay treats Rodgers in this impending deal will explain what the franchise, and its new brass, will value going into the back third of his career.