Packers sign Rodgers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – The Green Bay Packers gave Aaron Rodgers his opportunity when 23 other teams passed.
On another late April weekend with the NFL draft unfolding anew, there was Rodgers again, expressing his appreciation of the Packers for their latest sign of faith.
The Packers signed their franchise quarterback Friday to a five-year contract extension through the 2019 season, eight years after they stopped his slide down the draft board and took him with the 24th pick in the first round. The deal, according to a person with knowledge of the contract who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not released the details, is worth as much as $110 million, with $40 million guaranteed.
Rodgers had two seasons remaining on his current deal for a total of roughly $20 million. So this is essentially a seven-year contract, right there with the $120.6 million that the Baltimore Ravens gave quarterback Joe Flacco last month over six years.
“I’m excited to know my future is here and I’ll be here for a lot longer,” Rodgers said inside the locker room at Lambeau Field.
Locking up Rodgers was a priority for the Packers, who also reached a long-term extension with linebacker Clay Matthews this month worth as much as $66 million over five years. The Packers are 53-27 in five years with Rodgers as the starter, and he led them to the Super Bowl title following the 2010 season.
President Mark Murphy said leaving enough space under the salary cap to consistently field a competitive team around Rodgers for the life of his deal was “crucial.” He also acknowledged that the Packers not only gave Rodgers a market-rate contract but set a new market in the process.
“But he’s a pretty good quarterback, too,” Murphy said, laughing.
Rodgers, the longest-tenured Packers player, the only one still on the roster from that 4-12 team in 2005, said he’s confident the front office will continue to be able to build a winner around him.
“I like where we’re at. Obviously, there were some discussions about not doing a lot in free agency,” Rodgers said. “Like I said, this seems to be the Packer way where you draft a guy in your system and you pay them.”
Rodgers has thrown for 21,661 yards and 171 touchdowns, and he has had a quarterback rating of 101.2 or better in all but one season as a starter. His quarterback rating of 122.5 in 2011 is an NFL record.
The former standout at Cal was expected to be taken early in the first round in 2005, but he soon found himself alone in the green room. Rodgers acknowledged that prove-the-doubters-wrong attitude he’s used to his benefit throughout his career since that day he was ignored by so many in the draft.
“I have a good memory, and I’m driven to be the best,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, there’s a couple less critics out there now, but I still put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve the goals I set for myself here and enjoy trying to meet the challenge that those goals bring and also opposing teams bring.”