The cost of a draft day freefall

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
For those interested in such things: The Green Bay official who negotiated quarterback Aaron Rodgers' rookie contract offers an interesting take on how much money Rodgers lost when San Francisco bypassed him and selected Alex Smith with the No. 1 overall choice in the 2005 draft.

In short, here is what Andrew Brandt wrote over at The National Football Post: Smith received more guaranteed money in his first (and perhaps only) contract than Rodgers likely will receive in his first two.

Smith's $49 million deal included $24 million guaranteed. Rodgers, selected 24 spots behind Smith, received a $7.7 million deal with $4.13 million guaranteed.

Rodgers' contract expires after the 2009 season, meaning it's likely the Packers will approach him sometime this winter to discuss an extension -- provided, of course, he establishes himself as their long-term starter. According to Brandt's analysis, Rodgers would be in line for a deal similar to the one Jacksonville gave quarterback David Garrard in the offseason. They key number: $18 million guaranteed.

This is all very preliminary for a quarterback with one NFL start. But let's say Rodgers and his new agent, David Dunn, extract a decent bump from Garrard's numbers and sign a deal with $19 million guaranteed. Rodgers' first two NFL contracts, then, would have combined for $23.13 million in guarantees -- a total just short of Smith's rookie contract.

Comparing Rodgers and Smith is an extreme case, but it illustrates the disparity in the NFL current rules for determining rookie pay scale.