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Aaron Rodgers should be back atop the quarterback pay scale sometime soon

Aaron Rodgers of the Packers has fallen to the sixth spot on the highest-paid quarterback list. Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers might become the NFL's highest-paid player again.

It may not be for a while, but the Green Bay Packers know it and they're prepared for it -- as they should be.

"You need to plan for it," Packers president Mark Murphy told ESPN.com last week during an interview about the team's annual financial report.

Although Murphy said he "won't get into specific player contracts," Rodgers told a Milwaukee TV station last week that the Packers have yet to discuss an extension with his agent, David Dunn.

Dunn negotiated Rodgers' last deal -- a five-year, $110 million extension that runs through the 2019 season. Signed in April 2013, the deal made Rodgers the highest-paid player in the league at the time.

"I know what my value is and the team compensated me really, really well a few years ago," Rodgers told WTMJ TV last week. "I hope the situation in a couple of years is a no-brainer. That means I'm playing well and the team's still moving in the right direction, and that's what I can control. The other stuff, I let my agent handle that. We haven't even had any conversations, so it's not something I'm even thinking about. Like I said, I've got three years left on my deal."

Although Rodgers' deal held up well early on, it was inevitable that it would become outdated if he continued to play at an MVP level.

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When Monday came and went without the Washington Redskins coming to a long-term agreement with quarterback Kirk Cousins, it set the quarterback market for the 2017 season. Cousins will play under the franchise tag for the second straight year. His $23,943,600 salary for the coming season puts him at No. 4 on the quarterback salary pecking order behind Derek Carr ($25 million per season average), Andrew Luck ($24.594 million) and Drew Brees ($24.25 million).

Joe Flacco ($22.133 million) is No. 5 on that list, and Rodgers ($22 million) ranks sixth.

Murphy said last week that making sure Rodgers is taken care of remains a top priority. The Packers still have $19.3 million in space under this year's salary cap -- more than enough for general manager Ted Thompson and contract negotiator Russ Ball to offer Rodgers an extension or reach agreements with other core players. Perhaps the team brass will view those players whose contracts expire at the end of this season -- a list that includes Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers and Corey Linsley, among others -- as more pressing needs than Rodgers' contract.

Rodgers also appears content to bide his time. He expressed no concerns about his slide down the quarterback pay scale when asked about it earlier this offseason.

"When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself," Rodgers said in June. "I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I'm going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension."

If Rodgers, 33, is to reach his goal of playing into his late 30s and possibly early 40s, he was always going to need at least one more contract. In an interview last week with the NFL Network, he used a golf analogy to describe where he's at in his career.

"I think I'm on the back nine of my career," Rodgers said during that interview. "But I think I'm just kind of starting the back nine."

"When I was a young player, I remember thinking, as I looked at some of the older guys, if I got to five that would be cool, or eight, or anything after 10 would be amazing," Rodgers added. "For me, I think the longevity is tied to being a Green Bay Packer, and I would like to finish my career in Green Bay. I started there a long time ago being picked by Ted Thompson, and I've been able to play with [coach] Mike McCarthy now for -- this will be our 12th year together. I'd like to get us another seven, eight, nine or 10 together, and hopefully win a couple more championships."