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Jets QB Aaron Rodgers explains decision to take pay cut: 'It was the right thing to do'

Aaron Rodgers' decision to take a significant pay cut surprised many. More importantly, it demonstrated his commitment to his new team.

Rodgers spoke on the matter Tuesday, delivering a quick tutorial on the financial structure of an NFL roster before explaining why he decided to sacrifice a good chunk of cash to improve his chances of success with the Jets.

"There wasn't a whole lot of process to it," Rodgers said. "It was, like, a million something this year and 100 (million) and something next year, and it obviously never would've worked. There's two caps. There's basically the cap number, salary cap, and then there's the cash. So there were a few of us, I believe, who did some things cash-wise to open up some freedom there. The cap number obviously is very low because of the ability to prorate contract in this case. But I feel great about what I'm making.

"It wasn't really a negotiation, like back and forth, me starting at 50 and them starting at 20 and meeting somewhere. It was an easy conversation, much of it between me and (general manager) Joe (Douglas), just talking about the state of the team, the opportunities that could be out there, that are out there now, that could be out there, and what both sides felt comfortable with. It wasn't like there was a stress point. I think the only stress was maybe Mr. Johnson wanting to get something done, but we weren't stressing about it at all. It took a couple days to get it down on paper, but it wasn't a big deal."

It wasn't a big deal to Rodgers, who has certainly made enough money over his career to feel comfortable. But it was notable to the rest of the NFL, especially after Rodgers held out to extract maximum compensation from the Packers in his final years with the team.

Instead of following that trend, Rodgers has become a team-first quarterback. It seems a change of scenery can do wonders.

"I mean, it was the right thing to do, I felt like," Rodgers explained. "I'm very well paid, so I have no problem with what I'm getting paid. I took contracts years before free agency for a number of times, knowing that I would be at the top of the market probably and then get passed up multiple times. I never hit free agency. Obviously the Packers stepped up multiple times with top of the market deals that would be passed up at some point over the course of that deal multiple times, so I felt confident about the compensation at the time. We did things a couple times to help the cap out during my time there.

"This, to me, is a win-win-win for everybody. Win for me -- I get paid a ton of money. Win for the team -- we get a low cap number and deferred some cash. Win for other guys that we can bring in and sign. I have no complaints. I'm not missing it at all."

Expectations are high for the Jets, who will remain in the center of the NFL's brightest spotlight unless they prove they don't deserve such attention. Rodgers' arrival forced them to center stage, and now that the audience is focused on the Jets, it will soon be time to produce.

It's just money, but it's a step in the right direction for New York. We'll see if Rodgers and Co. can deliver -- well after the Hard Knocks cameras have departed for the season.

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