Travel DealAgents Take Why still no Aaron Rodgers deal? Lets examine the NFLs optout clause

Sunday, 28 October, 2018

Agents Take Why still no Aaron Rodgers deal? Lets examine the NFLs optout clause

Though Rodgers is arguably the NFLs best QB, hes cing an uphill battle to get a groundbreaking contract structure

Our advanced computer model simulated Sundays Saints vs. Vikings game , times

The big difference between Rodgers and Johnsons situations is their leverage. The Lions couldnt handle the wide receivers leaguehigh cap number of approximately million and were staring at a franchise tag for more than million the following year without a new deal.

Rodgers playing the season under his existing contract is the likely outcome if he is adamant about being able to opt out of his contract. Green Bay would probably want a much bigger buyout payment from Rodgers than Daniel has with a surprising concession on the voidable provision. For example, Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett could out opt of his extension after only one season. There was one catch. He had to made a million payment to the Bears to do so, which obviously didnt happen.

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Two backup quarterbacks,Chase DanielandNick Foles, have the power to void their contracts. Daniel can opt out of the second year of the twoyear, million contract he signed with theBearsin March by repaying million during a day window in February, right after Super Bowl LIII.

Opting out or opting in contract years is irly commonplace in theNBALeBron Jamesopting out of the final two years of his contract with theHeatin led to him returning to theCavaliers, who made him the firstoverall pick in the NBA Draft. The threat of James opting out has forced Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to repeatedly go over the luxury threshold in player salary spending in order to placate the superstar. After the NBA Finals, James is expected to opt out of a contract that would pay him . million next season in order to explore his options in free agency next month.

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Rodgers knowing that the Packers agreeing to give him this of control of his future with two years remaining on his current contract and the prospect of franchise tags afterwards is most likely wishful thinking, continually insisting on the voidable provision could be a good negotiation strategy to get a better conventional deal. If this is the case, Rodgers should eclipse Ryans . million fully guaranteed at signing and million in overall guarantees by a decent margin.

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Foles renegotiated contract with theEaglesis more complicated than Daniels. The Eagles have an option to pick up Foles through contract years containing healthy salaries for a starting quarterback by the middle of next February. If the option is exercised, which isnt the intention, the Super Bowl LII MVP can void the years with a million payment to the Eagles.

Salary escalators arent a foreign concept to Green Bay. Several players, including wide receiverDavante Adams, offensive tackleDavid Bakhtiari, defensive linemanMike Danielsand outside linebackerNick Perry, have annual escalators ranging from , to , for being selected to the Pro Bowl. Presumably, Rodgers escalators would have to be more lucrative than Roethlisbergers.

Realistically, the Packers can control Rodgers rights over the next four seasons by paying him slightly more than million. Rodgers wouldnt get his first chance to potentially hit the open market until as a year old with Green Bay going this route. It wouldnt make sense for the Packers to give Rodgers an opt out, which seems unlikely anyway, until at the earliest because of this franchisetag dynamic.

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SteelersquarterbackBen Roethlisbergerhas a salary escalator in his contract that attempts to help him keep pace with changing market conditions. His and thirddayoftheleagueyear roster bonuses increase by a maximum of million and million based on his regularseason MVPs, Super Bowl MVPs and Pittsburghs Super Bowl wins in the previous years of his contract. Roethlisberger has yet to earn any of the salary escalators because of the extremely high performance thresholds. Even if Roethlisberger had, the escalator wouldnt have been sufficient because of the way quarterback salaries have grown since he signed his fouryear extension in .

Agents Take Why still no Aaron Rodgers deal? Lets examine the NFLs optout clause

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Joel Corry is a former sports agent who helped found Premier Sports Entertainment, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes and coaches. Before his tenure at Premier, Joel worked…Full Bio

The Packers could put an exclusive franchise tag on Rodgers, which would prevent soliciting offers sheets from other teams, in . This number currently projects to . million. A second franchise designation in would be . million, a percent increase over the franchise number. A third franchise tag with a percent increase over the figure would be in excess of million.

There arent any current highend contracts with a mechanism to help prevent the deals from becoming outdated over time. When I was first getting started in the agent business, I worked on a deal for sixtime Pro Bowl cornerback Eric Allen, one of the clients of the firm that employed me, which ensured he remained as one of the NFLs highest paid defensive backs. After a lengthy preseason holdout in , Allen signed a threeyear contract with the Eagles where his salary would be adjusted so that his pact would equal the average of the three highestpaid NFL defensive backs deals if he was no longer being paid in that stratosphere provided he earned Pro Bowl or AllPro honors in the previous two seasons.

Generally, teams are extremely reluctant to eslish new contractual precedents which is what Rodgers wants that will be used against them in future negotiations with other players. Green Bay probably already feels it has accommodated Rodgers by structural concessions that are unique to him with their veteran contracts. Rodgers is the only player on the Packers with a veteran contract that has guarantees after the first contract year.

Four weeks later, a new contract doesnt appear to be imminent. NFL Medias Mike Garafolo reported late last week that Rodgers is seeking a clause in the extension allowing him to opt out of the deal at some point so he can better control his future. Rodgers characterized recent reports about negotiations as just conjecture but didnt deny he was looking for such a clause when talking to the media on Monday. He also reiterated his desire to play his entire career with the Packers.

Rodgers is cing an uphill battle in getting a contract with a groundbreaking structure. Although Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, he doesnt have the of leverageKirk Cousinshad when he signed a fullyguaranteed threeyear, million deal worth a maximum of million through incentives with theVikingsin March. Cousins power came from being an unrestricted free agent after playing the previous two seasons on franchise tags.

Rodgers would have been in a better position to take strong stand about his contract in as a year old entering the prime of his career. Instead, Rodgers signed his current fiveyear, million extension, which made him the NFLs highest paid player, with two years remaining on his first lucrative veteran contract. If the Packers hadnt been willing to meet the structural demands Rodgers is reportedly now , he would have been able to name his price in free agency in either or this year after playing the franchise tag game for two or three years.

WhenFalconsquarterbackMatt Ryansigned a fiveyear, million extension with anNFLrecord million in overall guarantees in early May, he became the leagues first millionperyear player. Ryans deal set a salary floor forAaron Rodgers, whose contract with thePackersruns through the season. The expectation was the Packers and Rodgers would quickly reach an agreement on a new contract since Ryans deal further defined the quarterback market. Around that time, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst publicly expressed optimism that a deal could get done soon.

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In the NFL, its a rarity for players to have the ability to opt out or void remaining contract years at their discretion. Contract years automatically voiding on a specific date is an accepted practice. These s of clauses are usually put in contracts to allow a team to prorate a signing bonus over a longer period of time for salarycap purposes as was the case in quarterbackDrew Brees extension with theSaints than otherwise permissible.

Allens contract was signed during the presalary cap era. I dont recall any veteran contracts addressing this issue of rising salaries in this manner since the salary cap was implemented in .

The Packers agreeing to tie Rodgers salary in the later years of the contract to the growth in the salary cap is about as likely as granting him an optout. A slightly more appealing concept to the Packers could beCalvin Johnsonsstructure in his deal with theLionsthat made him the NFLs highest paid nonquarterback. The last two years of Johnsons sevenyear, . million extension were voidable. The Lions had the right to buy back and by paying a nominal fee and guaranteeing . million in each of those years. Rodgers would probably want a substantial buyback payment and increased salaries in those years. These s of elements were typically in the deals of top draft picks during early to mids.

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Rodgers is scheduled to make million through the season his salary is . million this year and . million next year.

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