GREEN BAY, Wis. — This ought to give Aaron Rodgers better memories of the draft.
The Green Bay Packers signed their franchise quarterback Friday to a five-year contract extension through the 2019 season, eight years after they stopped his slide down the draft board and took him with the 24th pick in the first round.
The deal, according to a person with knowledge of the contract who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not released the details, is worth as much as $110 million, with $40 million guaranteed. The $22 million annual average of the extension is the highest salary in NFL history, slightly trumping the $120.6 million that the Baltimore Ravens gave quarterback Joe Flacco last month over six years.
“I’m excited to know my future is here and I’ll be here for a lot longer,” Rodgers said.
Locking up Rodgers was a priority for the Packers, who also reached a long-term extension with linebacker Clay Matthews this month worth as much as $66 million over five years. The Packers are 53-27 in five years with Rodgers as the starter, and he led them to the Super Bowl title following the 2010 season.
“An exciting day for our football program,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Aaron is an excellent illustration of a Green Bay Packer.”
Rodgers has thrown for 21,661 yards and 171 touchdowns, and he has had a quarterback rating of 101.2 or better in all but one season as a starter. His quarterback rating of 122.5 in 2011 is an NFL record.
The finalization of the extension, which was worked on for the last few months, came on the same late-April weekend on which Rodgers was snubbed by almost every other team in the NFL draft. A standout at Cal, Rodgers was expected to be taken early in the first round in 2005. But he soon found himself alone in the green room.
Rodgers acknowledged that prove-the-doubters-wrong attitude he’s used to his benefit throughout his career since that day he was ignored by so many in the draft.
“I have a good memory, and I’m driven to be the best,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, there’s a couple less critics out there now, but I still put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve the goals I set for myself here and enjoy trying to meet the challenge that those goals bring and also opposing teams bring.”