Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers Frustrated With Packers

The Packers’ relationship with their franchise quarterback is not in a great place right now. Aaron Rodgers is upset with the organization after being left out of discussions that resulted in major changes this offseason, multiple league sources tell Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Specifically, Rodgers wanted to be consulted with before the team released wide receiver Jordy Nelson and parted ways with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt

Both of those decisions [with Nelson and Van Pelt] were made without him,” one source close to Rodgers said. “In both situations, he had no influence with [the front office] before anything went down….I know he’s thinking about that stuff when it comes to the next contract because he should have earned a voice by now. In other places with [elite] quarterbacks, consideration is given to those guys. I think Aaron wants to be engaged in some decisions. But that’s just not the way it works [in Green Bay]. I think that’s obviously frustrating and it’s going to keep coming out.”

The relationship between Rodgers and the Packers “isn’t in total disrepair,” but the divide is real. One can’t help but wonder if Rodgers’ discontent could lead to real problems for the two parties in the coming years.

The good news for the Packers is that, contractually, they have significant leverage. Rodgers is slated to earn $20.5MM in 2018 and $21.1MM in 2019 – numbers that are well below market for the two-time MVP – and he can be controlled through 2021 via consecutive franchise tags.

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Gutekunst On Rodgers Extension Status

Top Packers decision-makers continue to expect an Aaron Rodgers extension to be finalized this offseason. Brian Gutekunst continued to express that sentiment recently. And the new GM addressed some other components of this process as well.

Rodgers is set to have a cap number of $20.562MM this season, which is the penultimate year of his current contract. Gutekunst said lowering that may be an option.

Obviously, the way the contract could be structured could help lower the cap number, give us a little bit more flexibility,” Gutekunst said, via Jason Wilde in a Wisconsin State Journal story. “But at the same time, when you have a player of Aaron’s ability and what he’s done for this organization and what we expect him to do moving forward, I think you just kind of want to get that taken care of. From our standpoint, he’s obviously very important to where we’re trying to go. It just makes sense for everybody.”

The 34-year-old quarterback signed a five-year, $110MM deal in April 2013. That contract, then atop the quarterback spectrum, has been surpassed by many in the past five years. Most recently, the Kirk Cousins/Vikings pact — three years for a fully guaranteed $84MM — changed the market.

The prospect of a $30MM-plus AAV agreement for Rodgers has been posited by some outside the organization, and the Packers as of now have no intentions on convincing their centerpiece player to accept a team-friendly deal.

I don’t think there’s really been any discussions about that,” Gutekunst said. “He’ll be under contract for two more years, and we expect him to be a Packer for the rest of his career. Those discussions haven’t gotten to that point yet.

Wilde writes that the Packers want to move forward with these negotiations soon to avoid any animosity between the team and Rodgers. And Gutekunst said top Green Bay negotiator Russ Ball and David Dunn, Rodgers’ agent, are in the beginning stages of these talks.

… It would be nice. Again, the sooner the better,” Gutekunst said of the Rodgers contract being completed before the season. “But at the same time, I don’t think there’s any stress in that one as far as what both sides want to do. It’s just a matter of getting to the right agreement.”

Rodgers would obviously be justified in asking for $30MM fully guaranteed per season, or north of that, based on his accomplishments compared to Cousins’. The Packers’ performance with and without Rodgers during the seasons that have seen him miss time due to injuries would justify this as well. But Gutekunst does not expect the Cousins contract to impact the Packers’ proceedings just yet.

Obviously, that was a pretty significant contract, and Aaron is a very significant player to us,” Gutekunst said. “Our thought process hasn’t changed because of that contract. Where we’re headed will still be the same.”

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NFC Notes: Rodgers, Giants, Falcons, Saints

With the quarterback carousel of the 2018 offseason winding down, it is now time for team’s with entrenched signal-callers to review their current deals. At the forefront of that list is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The two sides have been long expected to come to an agreement on a new deal this offseason and Packers president Mark Murphy still expects a new deal to get done this offseason, Chris Roth of WBAY-TV in Green Bay tweets.

It only made sense for Rodgers to wait for Kirk Cousins to set the bar, and he did that when he inked a three-year, $84MM deal with the Vikings earlier this month. Currently, Rodgers’ 2013 extension — which runs through 2019 — pays him $22MM annually. He can expect that number to inch close to an annual salary of $30MM.

Before missing nine games in 2017 with a collarbone injury, Rodgers had played in all 16 games in three consecutive seasons. During that time, the Packers great earned three Pro Bowl selections, a First Team All-Pro nod and claimed league MVP honors in 2014.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Giants trade of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul does not mean the team is dead set on taking his replacement with Bradley Chubb at the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft, SportsNet New York’s Ralph Vacchiano writes. He says the move was simply the team dumping JPP’s contract, and the team is happy to move forward with Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin and Josh Mauro. That being said, the team could still nab the N.C. State standout if it is not sold on a quarterback or wary of taking a running back in Saquon Barkley.
  • The Falcons could be bringing back safety Kemal Ishmael, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure heads (Twitter link). The versatile hybrid safety has spent five seasons with the Falcons, starting 20 of his 65 career games. In 2017, Ishmael logged one sack and 24 tackles in 16 games.
  • Among several other spots, the Saints can also stand to improve their wide receiver corps, The Times-Picayune’s Larry Holder writes. The team is locked into Michael Thomas as the No. 1 of the future, but the Saints could also bring in a veteran like Jordan Matthews or address the position in the draft, according to Holder. The writer also mentions running back, tight end, fullback and defensive tackle as positions that need to be improved upon.

Aaron Rodgers’ Deal On Hold Until Kirk Cousins Signs?

It’s looking like the Packers and Aaron Rodgers are going to wrap up an extension this offseason, but the two-time MVP’s deal may be on hold for a bit while unique NFL business unfolds.

Rodgers and the Packers continue to discuss a re-up, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). But this deal is not believed to be done until after Kirk Cousins chooses a destination.

Cousins is expected to sign for around $30MM per year, possibly becoming the league’s first $30MM-AAV player. And with the sizable gap between Rodgers and Cousins’ accomplishments, it would make sense for the Green Bay centerpiece to wait and see how the quarterback market looks after Cousins and Drew Brees sign their next contracts.

We heard earlier this week Rodgers and the Packers had begun negotiations, and Robinson heard recently the parties were “extremely close.” But the Yahoo reporter believes this seismic extension won’t commence until Cousins signs.

Currently, Rodgers’ 2013 extension — which runs through 2019 — pays him $22MM annually. That number sits eighth on the salary spectrum. The Cousins and Brees deals figure to bump that figure down to 10th. But going into the 2018 season, the quarterback landscape will likely look incredibly different. Matthew Stafford‘s $27MM-per-year deal topped this hierarchy going into last season, and Andrew Luck‘s $24.6MM-AAV agreement led the pack going into the ’16 campaign.

Between Rodgers’ April 2013 signing and Derek Carr‘s June 2017 extension, the quarterback market had only ventured north by $3MM per year over a four-year period despite the salary cap having gone up by more than $40MM in that span. But once Cousins and Rodgers’ deals are done, there may be two $30MM-per-season earners in the NFL. And with Matt Ryan entering a contract year, there could be a third at some point in the near future as well.

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Packers, Rodgers Have Discussed Extension

While Kirk Cousins is likely to unseat Jimmy Garoppolo for the richest contract in NFL history once free agency kicks off, his reign might not be a long one. That’s because the Packers and two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers have already begun working on a new contract, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky writesAaron Rodgers (vertical)

Green Bay’s president Mark Murphy told ESPN the two sides have made progress on a new deal despite the quarterback being signed through the 2019 campaign. “We’ve had discussions with his representative. I have a lot of confidence in Brian [Gutekunst] and Russ [Ball] and Aaron as well. We want to create a win-win.”

In 2013, Rodgers signed a five-year, $110 MM deal to become the NFL’s highest-paid player. Demovsky notes Rodgers now ranks sixth among the league’s top salaries. At 34 years old, Rodgers can conceivably play at least five more years barring injury. He is scheduled to make $20.6 MM this year and $21.1 MM in 2019, according to overthecap.com. Should the two sides reach a speedy agreement, the Packers could add to their current $16 MM in salary cap space.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection and one-time Super Bowl champion, Rodgers got off to a quick start in 2017 before breaking his collarbone in Week 6. He finished the season with 1,675 yards and 16 touchdowns. The campaign marked Rodgers’ second season with at least seven missed games due to injury in the last five seasons.

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North Notes: Packers, Vikes, Shazier, Ravens

As a high-octane Super Bowl LII enters its defining stretch, here’s the latest from the North divisions, starting with a perennial Super Bowl contender.

  • Aaron Rodgers interprets the language coming out of Packers headquarters this offseason as indicating he’ll have more help in 2018. The 34-year-old quarterback said his team will need to improve on both sides of the ball. “I think based on some of his comments, he’s going to be aggressive,” Rodgers said (via Nate Davis USA Today Sports) of new GM Brian Gutekunst. “We gotta get better on both sides of the ball. And that’s on Brian’s staff, that’s their job responsibility to give us a product we can work with and then it’s on Mike (McCarthy) and the staff and leadership to make it work.” The Packers have been perhaps the stingiest team in the league regarding non-street free agency investments, and with Rodgers entering his mid-30s, it would make sense for the franchise to go after the window it has.
  • Earlier Sunday, a report surfaced regarding Ryan Shazier‘s progress. While Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported Shazier has a regular walking routine, the Steelers linebacker wanted to clarify that. Michele Tafoya of NBC Sports tweets Shazier is not walking on his own and needs the assistance of others or a walker at this juncture of his rehab process.
  • The Vikings want to have their next offensive coordinator by midweek, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. La Canfora posits it would be a surprise if the team doesn’t conduct an interview with Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. The second-year Philadelphia QBs coach is thought to be a sought-after candidate for this post but may not be ready to leave his current job just yet.
  • The Ravensdecision to announce Eric DeCosta will succeed Ozzie Newsome did not violate the Rooney Rule. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes a team is allowed to make a promotion of this sort without conducting an interview, provided the executive has been labeled as the GM-in-waiting.

NFC Notes: Rodgers, Peterson, Keenum, Seahawks

Adrian Peterson had one of the least productive seasons of his career in 2017, but the veteran running back believes he still has plenty left in the tank.

“At the end of the day, I know I can play,” he told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). “If you watch football, as far as being an evaluator of talent, if a guy has something left in the tank… he was able to see (I) can still play the game. … I would want to play maybe four more years, four to five more years.’’

There were rumblings that the Cardinals would ultimately cut Peterson, but the 32-year-old doesn’t sound overly concerned about his status in 2018.

“I haven’t heard anything from the horse’s mouth but I heard the report as well,” he told Tomasson. “But it’s just a report for now If it’s (true) it was a great run for me and a great opportunity and it will be on to the next but hopefully that’s not the case.”

Peterson split last season between the Saints and Cardinals. After an underwhelming start in New Orleans, Peterson ultimately started six games for Arizona, compiling 448 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 129 carries.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • While Aaron Rodgers made it clear that he wants to play into his 40s, he also told the Associated Press that it may require him to play for another team. The Packers quarterback cited the departure of Brett Favre, who bounced between the Jets and Vikings after more than a decade in Green Bay. “I think you have to be humble enough to realize if it could happen to Brett, it can happen to you,” Rodgers said.
  • The Vikings will have some tough choices to make at the quarterback position this offseason, but Case Keenum is hoping he’ll get another chance at the starting gig. The 29-year-old told 1500ESPN’s Mackey and Judd that he’d like to finish what he started in Minnesota.“We love Minnesota, we love it here, we love the season we had, we definitely feel like there’s some unfinished business with how things ended,” Keenum said (via Matthew Coller of 1500espn.com). “At the same time, we understand tough decisions have to be made and so we’ll see what happens.”
  • Mary Jo White will be leading the NFL’s investigation into Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, reports ESPN.com’s David Newton. Back in December, it was reported that the owner was under investigation for workplace misconduct. White had previously served as a federal prosecutor in New York City and as the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama.
  • The Seahawks have hired former Texans special teams coach Larry Izzo as their new assistant ST coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Izzo was the special teams coach in Houston for the past two years, but was fired last month after back-to-back dismal seasons. He’ll now work under Brian Schneider, who’s been in Seattle since 2010. Izzo, a former NFL linebacker and special teams maven in the AFC East, is replacing Heath Farwell, who took a similar role with the Panthers.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

NFC North Notes: Rodgers, Vikings, Bears

Aaron Rodgers may not be too pleased with one of the moves the Packers made to restructure their coaching staff. While a new GM might mean more avenues to team improvement are now open, one of Rodgers’ former position coaches is now in Cincinnati. Rodgers spoke out about Alex Van Pelt not being retained as quarterbacks coach.

My quarterback coach didn’t get retained,” Rodgers said (Twitter link via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin). “I thought that was an interesting change — really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach. And that was an interesting decision.”

Van Pelt spent six seasons on Green Bay’s staff, the last four coming as QBs coach. The Packers let his contract expire at season’s end, freeing him to join the Bengals. Frank Cignetti Jr. will now serve as Green Bay’s QBs coach, coming over after two years as Giants quarterbacks instructor. He will work under now-two-time Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin — OC for the team’s most recent Super Bowl title and Rodgers’ first MVP slate a year later. However, Rodgers won the second of his two MVPs under Van Pelt, in 2014 and threw 40 touchdown passes in 2016.

Here’s the latest from the NFC North scene:

  • The Vikings have yet to make a decision about Pat Shurmur‘s replacement, but they’ve interviewed four OC candidates and are possibly waiting to talk to Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo. Whomever the team chooses, that coach will play a key role in determining who will be Minnesota’s quarterback in 2018. “He’ll have a major part of the decision-making process. He’ll be heavily involved in that,” Rick Spielman said. “The way that we structure everything is that everybody has a part in that process … myself, Coach (Mike) Zimmer, our scouting department and all of our coaches.” With Zimmer being a defensive-minded leader, it could naturally be assumed the new OC will be the top offensive voice on the team and place him in position to help make a difficult call for a franchise with three UFA quarterbacks.
  • Mike Glennon will not be Mitch Trubisky‘s backup next season, leading Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com to wonder if Chase Daniel would be an option for the Bears. Although Daniel was not with the Chiefs during Matt Nagy‘s two years as OC, he played three seasons behind Alex Smith when Nagy was the team’s QBs coach. Daniel spent 2017 backing up Drew Brees again. Dickerson listed Josh McCown, who rose back to relevance after a strong 2013 relief stint with the Bears, and Tyler Bray as other possible choices. The latter, though, having thrown just one pass in five NFL seasons could pose a problem in inspiring confidence he’s a No. 2 option.
  • Although Malcolm Butler has played a key role with the Patriots ever since his era-reshaping interception sealed their Super Bowl XLIX win, two NFL personnel men are not as high on him as they are other UFA corners. Both told the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs Butler would rank third behind Trumaine Johnson and Bears emerging defender Kyle Fuller if given the choice of the three. Each pointed to Butler’s small stature as a drawback. But the Bears went after Janoris Jenkins and Stephon Gilmore, respectively, the past two offseasons. And corner remains a need area. They figure to be in the market for a top-tier UFA here, and it stands to reason these three will be on the radar.

Rapoport’s Latest: Mularkey, Arians, Rodgers

It’s a busy day in the NFL, as some teams fight for the playoffs while others prepare for the offseason and their next head coach. Let’s take a look at some of the latest reports from NFL.com scribe Ian Rapoport on the eve of Black Monday:

  • Despite the fact that the Titans could clinch a playoff spot today, Rapoport says that head coach Mike Mularkey is in trouble, and if Tennessee loses to Jacksonville this afternoon, Mularkey could be fired. Indeed, he could be canned even if the Titans make the playoffs but lose in the wildcard round. Apparently, ownership is frustrated with the development of Marcus Mariota, and if the Titans dismiss Mularkey, they could go hard after Patriots OC Josh McDaniels.
  • Rapoport tweets that the Cardinals have not given up hope of enticing head coach Bruce Arians to return, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Arians is likely to step away from coaching after Arizona’s season finale today.
  • The Packers recently extended Davante Adams, and Rapoport tweets that the team will make an extension for Aaron Rodgers its top priority this offseason.
  • There are expected to be two head coaching openings in the NFC North, with the Bears and Lions preparing to look for their next sideline general this offseason. Rapoport names Patriots DC Matt Patricia as a top choice for Detroit, while the Bears could look hard at a QB guru for young signal-caller Mitch Trubisky. Rapoport tweets that the SaintsPete Carmichael, the longest-tenured OC in the league, could get a look for the Chicago job.
  • Both Cowboys coordinators (DC Rod Marinelli and OC Scott Linehan) are on the hot seat and will be thoroughly evaluated, per Rapoport (video link).

Teams Claim Packers Violated IR Rules With QB Aaron Rodgers

Last week, Aaron Rodgers was activated off the injured reserve and proceeded to play against the Panthers. Two days later, the Packers placed their franchise quarterback back on the injured reserve. Now, opposing teams are saying the organization “violated the rules regarding players who are eligible to be placed on injured reserve.”

Aaron Rodgers (vertical)ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that “multiple teams” have complained to the NFL about the apparent violation. NFL rules say a player needs to suffer a new injury that would sideline them for six weeks in order to be placed back on the injured reserve. If a team violates that rule, they’re required to release the player once they’re healthy.

Rodgers played the majority of the game last weekend, completing 26 of his 45 pass attempts for 290 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. The Packers did pull him from the game because he was “sore,” and the team placed him back on the injured reserve on Tuesday. Had the team still had a chance at the playoffs, the Packers could have continued to roll with Rodgers, but the team ultimately decided to shut him down for the season… which many teams claim breaks the IR rule.

As mentioned, if Rodgers didn’t suffer a new injury, the Packers would be required to release him once he’s healthy. As Schefter writes, no one expects the NFL to force Green Bay to cut their franchise quarterback, but these rival organizations want an explanation on why the Packers “were being granted immunity.”

Rodgers ultimately finished his 2017 campaign having completed 64.7-percent of his passes for 1,675 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. His seven games played was his lowest total since he became a full-time starter back in 2008.

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