Can't cash in much earlier than Rodgers

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
If you were surprised by how quickly the Green Bay Packers offered, negotiated and completed a long-term contract with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, you were not alone.

There wasn't the slightest of public indications that Friday's agreement was approaching. Yes, Rodgers and the Packers did a good job keeping it quiet. At the same time, few players cash in this way after such a brief career. Historically, it wasn't even time to start rumor-mongering about a possible deal, which we in the media love to do.

Look at it this way: Rodgers had almost four times as many regular season games left on his previous contract (25) as he has started in (seven). There were, after all, some people surprised last season when Dallas signed quarterback Tony Romo to a long-term extension. Romo had been the Cowboys' starter since the middle of 2006 and had a tenure more than twice that of Rodgers.

But the Packers clearly have committed to Rogers in both the short and long-term, having stacked two rookie backups behind him. So in that regard, it made sense to pursue a deal that could save them some money over time if Rodgers proves to be an elite quarterback.

Rodgers accepted about $10 million less in guaranteed money than Romo, according to an NFL.com report that pegged Rodgers' bonuses at $20 million and Romo's at $30 million. But in turn, Rodgers received financial security before he reached the midpoint of his first season as an NFL starter. Who would have guessed it?