In the not too distance future, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to account for roughly one-sixth of the Green Bay Packers' salary cap.
All signs point in that direction as negotiations on a long-term contract extension advance.
As that deal matures, roughly $20 million of the cap will go to Rodgers and $100 million will go to the 52 other players on the roster, as well as those on injured reserve and the practice squad.
The Packers are preparing to take a huge step this off-season in signing Rodgers to what stands to be a contract worth anywhere from $110 million to $160 million, depending on the length of the deal. His signing bonus alone could be $30 million and the guaranteed portion could be more than $40 million.
That's the price teams are willing to pay to keep a franchise quarterback.
"It's a concern because it will affect your depth," Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said of the cap dollars dedicated to an elite quarterback. "You want to have that player, obviously, but it's the nature of the game that one position is so valuable and it will take a significant portion of the salary cap, so you have to build around that situation (a certain way) when you have one.
"But I know there's 32 teams that would like to have one. That's the market."
Many Packers fans have been clamoring for general manager Ted Thompson to sign some free agents to surround Rodgers, but even with nearly $20 million of cap space, the Packers need to be careful with Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews set to become the highest or near-highest paid players at their positions.
The Packers know they have to get Matthews' deal done because the linebacker is in the final year of his contract. If they wait too long, he will start to sniff free agency and possibly shut off talks on an extension. They will make it worthwhile for Matthews to take the security of a deal now, probably shelling out $10 million to $12 million per year for the four-time Pro Bowl selection.
Rodgers, on the other hand, has two years left on his contract and the Packers also would have the option of using a franchise tag to keep him around a third year, so there's some question whether they need to do this contract now.
Packers will likely pay heavy price for Aaron Rodgers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Mar 20