On Monday night, quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon just four minutes into his NFL debut for his new side, the New York Jets. But after the 39-year-old signed a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $75 million USD (~$116 million AUD), the Jets will certainly look at ways to cover their substantial losses.
Thousands of Jets fans anguished in unison on Monday night after months and months of eager anticipation came crashing down in an instant; just four minutes into the new season, Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets’ new starting quarterback was forced to withdraw from the game as he tore his left Achilles tendon.
The four-time winner of NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers arrived in New York following a nearly 20-year spell with the Green Bay Packers where he built a reputation as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game.
His arrival in New York was met with expected excitement and the long-awaited solution to the Jets’ enduring issues at QB, so much so that the Jets risked offering the 39-year-old a guaranteed $75 million to make the trade with an eye on adding another Super Bowl ring.
“The team gave up significant pieces for it to just be a one-year deal,” Rodgers said to ESPN. “I’m aware of that. … Anything could happen with my body or the success we have this year, but I’m having a blast, so I really don’t see this as a one-year-and-done thing.”
But not even four offensive snaps into his debut, Rodgers was down, and thousands of fans around the MetLife stadium held their breath; Rodgers’ season was over before it had even begun.
So what does that mean for the New York Jets and Rodgers’ $75 million USD (~$116 million AUD) contract?
It was always a risk signing a 39-year-old player; even one as good as Aaron Rodgers.
Of course, Tom Brady played until he was 45, but he’s an exception to the rule. I doubt there would have been the expectation for Rodgers to play every minute of this season, but the Jets certainly would have been relying on their new signing heavily as they push for another Super Bowl.
Rodgers reportedly took a significant pay cut on his existing Green Bay deal to make the trade to New York, but now that the former NFL champion is looking at an extended period on the sidelines, what happens to his contract, and will the Jets have to pay?
“Virtually everything you see in professional sports has some level of insurance tied to it,” Joe Pompliano, Sports Business Analyst, revealed on CNBC. “In football, and the NFL specifically, if the player gets hurt, in a lot of instances, the team can just cut them and they don’t owe them anything.”
“But Rodgers has $75 million in guaranteed money even if he gets hurt. So we don’t know if the Jets signed an insurance policy or not, but most likely, they probably did. That offers them some loss of value insurance between 50% to 80% of his contract.”
The loss of Rodgers this season will be huge for New York, but a smart insurance policy will protect the Jets from an expected loss of value and could end up saving them as much as $60 million USD (~$93 million AUD).