In 2008, after starting only seven games where he was at best uneven, a yet unproven quarterback named Aaron Rodgers was paid $65 million over six years by the Packers. Although he was well known, being the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, he was still in the shadows of one of the best quarterbacks of all time. In his first full season after signing the contract, he tore up the league and threw for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns, and a year after that he led his team to a Super Bowl victory.
In 2011, after starting only seven games where he was at best uneven, a yet unproven quarterback named Kevin Kolb was paid $63 million over five years by the Cardinals. Although people did know about him since he was drafted 36th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, initially he was the backup to another future Hall of Fame QB.
Will we see Kolb throw for 4,000-plus yards this year? Will the Cardinals win the Super Bowl next year?
No one knows for sure. However, one thing that this comparison definitely shows is that sometimes believing in a player as a franchise quarterback, and handing him the keys, can pay great dividends.