The complicated numbers behind 12 QB contracts: Do the Packers and Broncos have room to maneuver?

  • Joined ESPN in 2011
  • New Jersey native and author of two published novels

The disappointing seasons the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers are having with veteran quarterbacks who signed huge contract extensions this offseason got us thinking.

What, exactly, could the Broncos do about moving on from Russell Wilson if things don’t get better? When, exactly, could they do it?

What, exactly, are the Packers’ options with Aaron Rodgers if he decides to come back, if he demands a trade, if he retires, etc? And what’s the timetable on those?

Wilson’s and Rodgers’ deals have unique structures that make the issues thorny, but there are ways their teams can work around them if they decide they need to. I wanted to take a dive into those deals and try and explain what happens this year, next year, etc., if and when the teams decide they want out.

And then, as we got talking, we realized those aren’t the only veteran QB contracts that may not look exactly as if they’ve been presented. So we added a few more interesting veteran deals and some explanations of those.

Please understand, we aren’t predicting what will happen with these teams and these quarterbacks. That depends on the results of games, the results of seasons, the wishes of the players, the health of the players, the whims of team owners… lots of stuff. This isn’t one of our predict-the-future exercises.

No, this is an examination of contract structures with an eye on how flexible some of the bigger veteran QB deals are or are not. Hopefully it helps you learn something. Enjoy.

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