The reports, here and here, of Aaron Rodgers' contract extension caught me off-guard. Another Acme Packing Company writer even beat me to it. I expected a contract extension, but not until next spring. But it makes sense to do it now and allocate some it to the cap space still available in 2008. It might have been nice to review Aaron's performance after the entire season is done, but I haven't seen anything to suggest he's going to fall on his face in the 2nd half of 2008, so I guess there is no harm. One of the rumored reasons why GM Ted Thompson couldn't allow Favre to return this summer was that Rodgers would refuse to sign any extension, at any time, if Favre came back in 2008, so it wasn't whether the Packers would offer him an extension but when.
ESPN reported that he got Tony Romo-type dollars, which is 6 years, $67.5 million with $30 million guaranteed and a $11.5 million signing bonus. Comparing Romo circa October 2007 to Rodgers now is about as close a comp as I can think of. Romo has been better, but it's not a huge difference. The only other recent, similar situation I can think of is Cleveland's QB Derek Anderson, but his three year extension was really designed as a one year deal if Cleveland changes their mind and starts the Brady Quinn era in 2009. Obviously Rodgers isn't playing now just to keep the seat warm for QB Matt Flynn or QB Brian Brohm, so that doesn't seem to work. I expect he got nearly the deal as Romo, but knowing Thompson, he made the overall size of the contract the same, but got less guaranteed with larger base salaries. He probably even boosted his base salary in 2008 which has to be below average considering he's still playing on his rookie contract.
Another big reason to do this now is the potential labor strife in 2010. 2009 is still a capped season, but there is no cap in 2010. Instead of playing without a cap in 2010, once the players and their union have a season with no salary cap, they will never want to go back, the owners might decide to lockout in 2010 and threaten the season ala 1981/1987. If the Packers waited until the end of Rodgers' rookie contract in 2009, neither the Packers nor his agent might have known what to do without a collective bargaining agreement in place. It's better to lock him in through 2014 so the parties know where they stand.
UPDATE: I forgot about Jacksonville QB David Garrard! Pete Dougherty reminded me when he disclosed Rodgers received a 6 year, $65 million extension. Garrard got the same amount guaranteed, $20 million, as Rodgers. At least I was right that Thompson gave Rodgers less guaranteed money than Romo.