Friday new$ and note$

Welcome to Championship weekend! First, here’s a look back at the last time the Packers were in the NFC Championship, a mere three years ago. Now on to the note$:

The final four quarterbacks

I thought I’d take a look at the numbers for the remaining point men for their teams in this weekend’s championship games. Here are the basics of their contracts in order of the timing of their most recent deals:

Mark Sanchez

On June 6th, 2009, as the fifth pick of the 2009 Draft, Sanchez signed a five-year, $44.5 million contract with $28 million guaranteed. He earned almost $16.5 million in 2010, with $10 million of it in an option bonus he received in March.

Jay Cutler

On October 20th, 2009, Cutler signed an extension to his rookie contract, receiving a five-year, $50 million contract with $20 million guaranteed. I wrote about the deal here.

Aaron Rodgers

On October 31st, 2008, after seven games as a starter, Aaron was rewarded on with a six-year, $65 million contract with $20 million guaranteed. He made $6 million in 2010, making him one of the bigger bargains in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger

On March 3rd, 2008, Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million contract with $33.2 million guaranteed, featuring a $25.2 million signing bonus and a $3 million roster bonus in March of 2009. He had a salary in 2010 of $8.05 million, reduced by $1.9 million due to his four-game suspension from the league under the Personal Conduct Policy.

Thus, for these four former first-round packs, the average total value of their deals is $65.4 million and the average guaranteed amount is $25.3 million. I think the four teams will all say they have good value. I would expect that Sanchez and Rodgers would also have new and improved deals in the next couple of years.

Nnamdi in Green and Gold? Don’t think so

One of the strengths of the Green Bay Packers in their recent run-up to the NFC Championship has been the sparkling play of their secondary, anchored by the brilliant and ageless Charles Woodson.

Even with the wealth of talent, Nnamdi Asomugha’s pending void of his Raiders’ contract has Packer fans atwitter that the team’s strength could get stronger.

Packer fans should not get their hopes up too high. Although Asomugha and Woodson are close and Asomugha may even be intrigued with playing in Green Bay, it would require a major investment in an area that the Packers have invested in heavily, especially this year. Note the following:

  • On March 9th, Nick Collins signed a four-year, $26.75 million contract with $14 million guaranteed.
  • On September 9th, Woodson signed a five-year, $55 million contract with $21 million guaranteed.
  • On November 30th, Tramon Williams signed a five-year, $38.15 million contract with $13 million guaranteed.
  • Thus, the Packers, never known for big spending on players, spent $120 million in total contract value and $46 million in guarantees on three players in the same position group!

As every team does and I did with the Packers for nine years, cash and Cap spending is ideally balanced through position groups and offense/defense. Our studies consistently showed that the most successful teams were most evenly balanced in their player spending.

Adding Nnamidi – who will receive more than even Woodson – would be a nice story but does not appear realistic for a team that spent the most money on its defensive secondary in the NFL in 2010.

Back in black?

If not Green Bay, then where will Asomugha land? If it is about the money – as it usually is - especially when a player says “It’s not about the money!” -- then my best guess is that Asomugha will be back with the Raiders.

While Al Davis may have a problem compensating his coaches, he has shown he will overpay his players to keep them. Although Davis was noncommittal in his remarks this week, my best guess is that, despite the stunning contract of Asomugha two years ago that now makes him a free agent again, the Raiders will be pay him more than anyone else once again.

On to the Championship games. Here are my promised predictions, as I am all about the 6th seeds this year:

Packers 24 Bears 13
Jets 17 Steelers 13

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