Aaron Rodgers Deserves Contract That Tops Joe Flacco as Richest Player in NFL

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after fullback John Kuhn #30 scores on a three-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco signed the largest contract in NFL history this offseason, which means Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is in for a big payday as well. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Packers are close to signing an extension with the former MVP for as much as $25 million per year.

And he deserves every penny.

After the Ravens agreed to give Flacco $120.6 million over six years, it raised the bar for quarterbacks around the NFL. Sure, the former Delaware star had a great playoff run and helped his team win the Super Bowl, but that does not make him the best quarterback in the league.

Instead, most metrics list Flacco as nothing more than a middle-of-the-road passer. Last season, he ranked 12th in the league in quarterback rating, 19th in completion percentage and only 25th in total QBR.

Conversely, Rodgers ranked in the top five in each category, not to mention his incredible 39-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. 

It is obvious that the Packers star has a huge impact on his team's success. The team's defense is inconsistent, and the running game is virtually nonexistent. Three different receivers have led the squad in receiving yards over the last three years.

Green Bay has put together a 36-12 record in that span, including a Super Bowl win.

Additionally, that championship at least puts him on par with Flacco in terms of postseason success. The fact that he did not win it all this past season does not mean that people have forgotten about the title.

However, it is not the total amount of money that matters. The most important part of NFL contracts is the amount of guaranteed money. Everything else could be meaningless if a team decides to go in a different direction for the future, choosing not to pay the remainder of the salary.

According to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, Flacco received $52 million in guaranteed money. This is slightly less than Drew Brees and Tom Brady (both around $60 million).

Rodgers is one of the most consistent players in the league, finishing with a quarterback rating of at least 100 in each of the past four seasons. There is very little chance he struggles on the field enough to make Green Bay regret a contract.

In addition, he is only 29 years old and has plenty of good years ahead of him. Brady (35) and Brees (34) are both older, and decline in their performance is only a matter of time. Flacco is just one year younger than Rodgers.

Any long-term contract is a gamble, but Rodgers is the safest bet you could possibly make in the NFL. He makes everyone around him better, and he has the ability to win a few more championships for the Packers.

Green Bay has to do everything possible to make the quarterback the richest player in NFL history.