Aaron Rodgers is the most underpaid athlete in sports
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~The Packers were 5-2 -and on their way to becoming 6-2- with MVP Aaron Rodgers leading the way.
One cracked collarbone later, and 5 games later, the Packers still have 5 wins, and at 5-6-1, have fallen out of playoff contention and into Draft Position Mode.
Do you remember when Greg Jennings was whining in Minnesota, about Rodgers getting too much praise and credit in Green Bay?
Yeah, what’s that point you were trying to make again Greg?
Had Rodgers not gotten injured that night against Chicago, the Packers record would most likely be 10-2 right now, or 9-3 had they lost one of the games they (would have been) favored in.
That (10-2) would be in contention for the #1 or #2 seed in the NFC Playoffs and a first-round bye. And that’s how it’s been basically since 2009, Packers in playoff contention.
We’ve all seen it. It’s a disgrace out there. An embarrassment. A joke with no laughs, unless you’re a Bears, Lions, or Vikings fan.
The game versus Matthew Stafford’s Lions was the most one-sided NFL game I can ever remember, and that includes expansion teams like the 1976 Buccaneers and more recent Jaguars and Panthers.
The Turkey Day Demolition was as one-sided as an Alabama vs. Middle Cupcake University would be.
The 40-10 final score was a lot closer than the game really was.
The Packers defense, uncharacteristically, actually forced 4 turnovers, with 1 of them directly resulting in the Packers only touchdown on the Nick Perry strip-sack and Morgan Burnett fumble scoop and score.
Reggie Bush also fumbled on his way into the end zone on the Lions opening drive, after starting the game by carving up the defense into the red zone.
And one of Stafford’s other interceptions was an end zone pick by Sam Shields, in which it would have been a touchdown to Calvin Johnson, had the pass been a foot, or 2 feet, or 3, higher.
The first downs were 30-7 for the Lions.
The Packers had a total of zero rushing first downs in the game. None. Zilch.
The Lions had 14 first downs rushing. And 16 passing.
The leading Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, Eddie Lacy, had 16 yards rushing on the day, 1.6 yards per carry.
The Lions had 241 yards rushing, 5.1 per carry.
And Stafford added 330 yards passing.
The Packers had 102 net yards passing, and 56 of them came on a final garbage-time drive circus catch by James Jones.
Again, can you ever remember an NFL game that one-sided?
It’s more like a big time college program against a patsy small school being fed to the wolves.
A more accurate score would have been 54-3 or possibly 61-3.
The 3 points the offense actually “earned” was a 54-yard field goal from Mason Crosby following a short drive that started at the 40-yard line thanks to the Lions kicker kicking the ball out of bounds for some reason. That was a 23-yard drive.
How can this all be?
How can just missing Rodgers have this big of an impact?
What about the 2010 GM of the Year, Ted Thompson?
He has been praised by some for “building through the draft” more than any other GM.
His “tree” has gotten John Schneider a GM job in Seattle, where his Seahawks have the best record in the NFL right now.
John Dorsey took over as Kansas City GM this January, a team that had the NFL’s worst record last year and was preparing for the #1 overall pick in April’s draft, not for the playoffs.
A year earlier, the Oakland Raiders hired away Reggie McKenzie to be their new GM.
But Thompson has been ignoring free agency, sometimes to the chagrin of Packer fans.
While many fans were clamoring for some veteran additions to the ILB and S position, Thompson prefers to go with youth, build from within.
He over-drafted a guy from Maine who was not on anyone else’s draft chart, Jerron McMillian. He paid Morgan Burnett almost Pro Bowl money even though he has yet to become an above-average player. He cast away team leader Charles Woodson for those young guys.
The defense, compared to the offense especially, has been healthy. The only frontline starter out for the season is 2nd year cornerback Casey Hayward, who was the nickel-back last year.
Clay Matthews has missed some games with the broken finger, and hasn’t been 100%, obviously, since his return.
It was midway through this year where we saw the stat about teams with players that had played games with any other teams besides their current team.
The Green Bay Packers had only 3 at that time: Ryan Pickett, John Kuhn, and Seneca Wallace.
The next lowest in the league, had 10 more.
This is not a coincidence, no accident.
Whether it’s Thompson’s belief that other teams “taint” the players (something that Greg Jennings might believe), or it’s because few other players have a desire to come to Green Bay, this is Thompson’s Modus Operandi.
With the MVP Rodgers piloting the team, it was able to mask a lot of problems. Sure, like at the Bengals this year or the opener at the 49ers (when Colin Kaepernick had his best day ever as a passer with over 400 yards), Rodgers was not able to carry the team to a victory.
Without Rodgers? The team is the worst team in the NFL. Only the Jaguars and possibly Vikings could argue that statement.
Basically, Thompson, Mike McCarthy, Dorsey, McKenzie, and Schneider all owe their jobs and accolades to Rodgers. Without him, they’d be flipping burgers somewhere, not GM’s or Coach of the Year recipients.
The NFL’s Top 10 Cap Numbers for 2013 Salaries:
1. Eli Manning (QB)-New York Giants: $20.85 Million
2. Matthew Stafford (QB)-Detroit Lions: $17,825,600 Million
3. Peyton Manning (QB)-Denver Broncos: $17,505,600 Million
4. Drew Brees (QB)-New Orleans Saints: $17.4 Million
5. Jared Allen (DE)-Minnesota Vikings: $17,065,186 Million
6. Darrelle Revis (CB)-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $16 Million
7. Tamba Hali (OLB)-Kansas City Chiefs: $15,464,706 Million
8. Cortland Finnegan (CB)-St. Louis Rams: $15,002,275 Million
9. Julius Peppers (DE)-Chicago Bears: $14,387,533 Million
10. Adrian Peterson (RB)-Minnesota Vikings: $13.9 Million
You might wonder where Tom Brady is as well. Brady had the NFL’s largest cap number at $21.8 million until he took a steep hometown discount during an offseason contract renegotiation that freed up $8 million in 2013 cap room for the New England Patriots.
Brady, as you might recall, also had a serious injury a few years ago, when his ACL was torn in their opening game at Kansas City.
Matt Cassel took over for him, having never even started a game in college at USC, and he went 11-4 as the Patriots starting QB.
The Packers have gone 0-4-1 without Rodgers.
Peyton Manning’s Colts were a perennial playoff team. Without him, in 2011, they became the worst team in the NFL. They also were rewarded for it by getting Andrew Luck in the 2012 Draft.
We’ve never seen the Saints without Brees, but I would expect they would suffer big time without him too. Maybe not as badly as the Packers are, and Colts did, because I think the Saints defense under the leadership of Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, would not fall apart like a cheap suit.
If the Packers are essentially a 12-4 team with Rodgers, as they are, and they are about a 2-14 team without him (that’s assuming they find a way to win 2 games, which they have not yet despite 3 home games), then Rodgers alone is worth about 10 wins a year.
How much is that worth?
The team Salary Cap number is $123 Million for 2013.
The team wins nothing without him. And they win 10-14 games with him.
What percentage should he get?
I believe if his contract was up now, his agent would have an easy case to get Rodgers to the next plateau of $30 Million a year.
How could anyone argue otherwise?