Friday, October 31, 2008

Pack sign Rodgers to long-term deal

Obviously, the experiment has worked from the Packers' standpoint: the move to Aaron Rodgers at quarterback has exceeded expectations. Jettisoning ol' #4 wasn't -- still isn't -- popular in some circles. But the fact is, Rodgers is doing the job. Will he play a bajillion consecutive games like Brett Favre? It's doubtful anyone will achieve that mark, and it's really unfair to expect it as part of the new job description for Packers quarterbacks. But to take the helm of a championship level team and not have the wheels fall off as some expected, but rather to perform at one of the highest levels in the league, has proven Ted Thompson right. Rodgers' current passer rating places him eighth in the league, while Brett Favre is currently at 14th.

Having said that, the Packers aren't wasting any time in making sure that they let Mr. Rodgers know that it really is his neighborhood. They today signed Rodgers to a long-term contract extension through the 2014 season. If there was ever any question as to who was going to be the QB of the Pack for the foreseeable future, it just got answered big time. The NFL Network, citing league sources, reported that the contract was worth $65 million over six years, with $20 million guaranteed.

In a video interview, Rodgers said that he appreciated the fact that the Packers were showing this commitment to him at this time since he still had something like a year-and-a-half or so left on his original contract.

When Rodgers was drafted in 2005, 23 teams passed on him. If you recall, there was the distinct possibility that he could have gone #1 to San Francisco; they opted instead for Alex Smith...who was demoted to #2 behind J.T. O'Sullivan -- J.T. O'Sullivan! -- and is currently on injured reserve, and is starting to be considered a bust. In fact, reports indicate that San Fran's general manager, Scott McCloughan, has stated that the Niners expect to release Smith before the 2009 season, when they would owe him a salary of $9.625 million. Gee, do you think they regret not taking Rodgers? And aren't you glad the Packers did? Rodgers was the steal of the draft at the time. And, it appears, now.

Let's just hope that he sustains no serious injuries and can manage the pain with his existiing shoulder injury, which probably won't really heal until after the season.

The Packers have seen the future and it is Aaron Rodgers. Let's hope he celebrates with a great game against the Titans.

You can read more about the contract extension announcement here. A more comprehensive story about the signing can be found here.