- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rodgers was one of a handful of players from the 2011 draft class who were awarded with the Proven Performance Escalator, according to the NFLPA records. Players qualify for this increase in Year 4 of their contracts if they participate in a minimum of 35 percent of their club’s offensive or defensive plays in two of his first three regular seasons or a cumulative average of at least 35 percent of the plays over all three seasons.
Rodgers, a former fifth-round pick from Oregon State, saw his base salary grow from $645,000 to $1.389 million. The cap number factors in prorated signing bonus.
Now, the Falcons are one of seven teams with three running backs with cap numbers exceeding $1 million in ’14 with Rodgers, Steven Jackson ($4,166,666) and Jason Snelling ($1,733, 334). But remember, Rodgers' value extends beyond what he does in the backfield. He is the team’s kick returner and compiled a team-leading 1,248 all-purpose yards this past season.
The Falcons’ cap situation is sure to fluctuate from now until the start of the new league year (March 11) based on cuts, extensions, and possible re-signings and restructurings. Players typically don’t get released until after the Super Bowl and there is no immediate rush for teams to re-sign their own free agents.
Here are the cap numbers for the players under contract for 2014, with Rodgers’ figure updated and then retiring Tony Gonzalez ($8.75 million) omitted.
Justin Blalock $7,660,000
Sam Baker $6,250,000
Garrett Reynolds $1,578,750
Peter Konz $978,709
Lamar Holmes $703,400
Harland Gunn $570,000
Ryan Schraeder $495,666
Terren Jones $495,000
*Total for 49 under contract in 2014: $108,367, 314. Projected 2014 cap: $126.3 million.