What Aaron Rodgers' Mega-deal Means for Khalil Mack

Aaron Rodgers got his, as expected – a four-year extension to still be Aaron Rodgers, with more than $100 million in guarantees, more than $130 million in new money and incentives, and more than $175 million in potential dollars.
In other words, Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr are now making money more in line with their actual deeds. And Tom Brady still isn't.
The deal, first reported by Rodgers' former teammate James Jones as part of a deal Rodgers made with Jones when he retired to become an NFL Network analyst, is not in and of itself interesting, as most people always knew Rodgers would be paid commensurate with his place among the quarterback field. The numbers are gaudy, but the numbers on these things usually are – often gaudier than the actual take-home.
But the interesting part of the entire process was the Twitter thread that followed Jones' news break, which can be summarized thusly:
"Now go get Khalil Mack and sign him."
Some of this is generational, of course; Mack is a highly prioritized item on the new part of the menu, while Rodgers has been part of the Wisconsin firmament for more than a decade. Some of this is situational, in that the Packers have always been a bit shorter on the defensive side of the ball, and Mack can be a game-changer. Some of this, also, is the ever-growing field of general managers without portfolio – fans who need the smell of fresh ink and roster turnover to feel good about the time and money they have spent being fans.
And locally, it is yet another reminder that Mack, currently an Oakland Raider, is considered the truest prize of the dying offseason, and that there is a fevered market out there for him if Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie want to engage.
The Packers have always sat atop the list of teams mentioned as possible landing strips for Mack, who is currently playing hardball with the Raiders, who in turn are playing hardball with him. Both sides are flirting with the dangerous realization that they might be getting used to life without each other, and nothing cools ardor quite like the knowledge that you can do different, if not necessarily better.
That has always been the danger here. Gruden doesn't want to lay out $20-million-plus for two players (Carr is already there), and Mack seems unwilling to take less. The two sides barely speak, and Rodgers' deal is only going to remind Mack that the distance between quarterback contracts and the rest of the work force is widening.
Again, Rodgers has earned his piece, and nobody claims otherwise save those old fuds who wish that American culture didn't hold entertainers in higher esteem than nurses, teachers, fire fighters, social workers or police. Not even Mack would make that claim.
But he and Gruden know his value as well, and the sticking point is whether Gruden wants Mark Davis to pay that freight. So far, he has concluded that Mack doesn't have leverage, and Mack has concluded that what leverage he does have withers as soon as he reports to the team.
So that's where we are – Aaron Rodgers is now Scrooge McDuck, bathing in a vault of gold coins, and Khalil Mack is the next line item in Green Bay. That's not new news, but it is the next click on the stovetop dial.

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