Rodgers' injury helped Packers' salary cap

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone last season helped the Green Bay Packers in one way.

They picked up some extra salary-cap space because of it.

According to ESPN Stats & Information salary data, Rodgers' salary-cap number decreased by $350,000 for this season and every season through 2017. The Packers received the cap credit because they took out an insurance policy on Rodgers shortly after he signed his five-year, $110 million contract extension last April.

It's not a common practice around the league, but some teams do it to protect themselves against injuries to players with large contracts. Rodgers did not lose any actual money, but the Packers did get money returned them from the insurance policy, and therefore it was taken off their salary cap.

For this season, Rodgers' salary-cap charge dropped from $17.9 million to $17.55 million. For salary-cap purposes, his $35 million signing bonus was prorated over five years. Instead of his bonus proration counting $7 million this season, it will count $6.65 million instead.

In fact, Rodgers’ cap number will decrease by $350,000 each season through 2017. The final two seasons of the contract (2018 and 2019) remain unchanged. His cap number for 2015 dropped from $18.6 million to $18.25 million. In 2016, it went from $19.6 million to $19.25 million. In 2017, it dropped from $20.65 million to $20.3 million.

Rodgers fractured his left clavicle on Nov. 3 against the Chicago Bears and missed the next seven games. He returned for the regular-season finale and led the Packers to a victory against the Bears that clinched the NFC North title.