Aaron Rodgers

NFC North Notes: Rodgers, Vikings, Lions

The Vikings were not the first team that sought Dan Bailey‘s services this season. Although he’s in Minnesota now, other franchises wanted to sign the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history. Bailey agreed to terms with the Vikings on a one-year, $2MM deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). However, the 30-year-old specialist also turned down offers worth double that on multiyear deals, Rapoport adds. The Jets brought in Bailey to work out just after the Cowboys cut him, but nothing came to fruition. Gang Green may have been one of the teams that presented a better offer, but that’s not known. Nevertheless, Bailey will replace Daniel Carlson, whom Mike Zimmer said it was not difficult to cut after his performance in Minnesota’s Week 2 tie in Green Bay.

Here’s the latest out of the NFC North:

  • Aaron Rodgers did not exit the Packers‘ Week 2 game with any new discomfort on his injured left knee, Mike McCarthy said (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). Rodgers is “obviously sore,” and McCarthy does not have a read on whether his quarterback’s condition is better or worse than at this point last week. But it’s encouraging for the Packers that Rodgers didn’t sustain any additional damage while clearly playing hurt.
  • Carlson’s cut will save the Vikings $200K, though the Bailey addition will negate those savings. Only Carlson’s signing bonus ($248K), plus his base salary through two games, will count against Minnesota’s cap, per Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (on Twitter). The Vikings are up against the cap but managed to add Bailey, Aldrick Robinson and Tom Johnson in the past two days.
  • Robinson will only make the league minimum, and no guarantees exist in the soon-to-be 30-year-old wide receiver’s Vikings pact, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. The former Redskins, Falcons and 49ers pass-catcher now comprises part of the Vikes’ receiving corps. Minnesota currently has five receivers on its roster, the same amount it did prior to the Robinson signing. Stacy Coley, a 2017 seventh-rounder, was cut to make room.
  • On a busy day for workouts, the Lions brought in two veteran edge rushers who would slot in as defensive ends in their 4-3 scheme. John Simon and David Bass trekked to Detroit for Tuesday workouts, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM reports (on Twitter). A recent Colts cut, Simon already met with the 49ers and Jets since being released. A six-year veteran, Bass led Jets edge rushers in sacks last season with 3.5. Former Packers fullback Aaron Ripkowski also worked out for the Lions today, NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. Also among the workout contingent: linebacker Tyrone Holmes, fullbacks Jalston Fowler and Jay Prosch, and tight end Donnie Ernsberger, per Balzer. Wide receiver Keon Hatcher visited with the Lions.
  • Former Jets wideout Chad Hansen was among those who auditioned for the Packers today, with Balzer tweeting Shay Fields, Korey Robertson, Taj Williams and quarterback Brogan Roback — of Hard Knocks fame — joined him.

Latest On Aaron Rodgers

After his remarkable comeback during the Packers’ season-opening win over the Bears last Sunday night, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers assured a national audience that he would be playing in Week 2. The fact that he practiced with the team yesterday all but confirmed as much, even though we also learned that the star signal-caller is still dealing with swelling in his left knee.

The situation remains generally murky. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported earlier this morning that Rodgers does not have any ligament damage, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that Rodgers does indeed have a ligament sprain, to go along with a deep bone bruise. Rodgers also has what one of Schefter’s sources called a “pretty unusual injury that would keep most people out awhile,” which Glazer agrees with. Another of Schefter’s sources added that Rodgers probably should not have returned to the field after suffering the knee injury last week, and that he will likely be kept on a short leash as he continues to recover.

His recovery, per Schefter, could take another couple of months. Schefter says that Rodgers sustained a “compression injury from blunt force while bent,” and he will simply have to play through the pain. As we saw last week, though, even a hobbled Rodgers is still about as good of a quarterback as there is, and Green Bay has no hope of contending for a playoff spot without him.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) indicates that Rodgers will indeed play today, but that despite A-Rod’s bravado, his game status was no sure thing earlier this week, as he was “swollen and hurting.” Glazer says Rodgers is still experiencing a great deal of pain and swelling, and he is wearing a very large brace on his injured knee today. We can probably expect a lot of shotgun formations and quick passes from Rodgers for the next few weeks at least.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Rodgers, Hawks, Linehan, Bucs

The Aaron Rodgers watch now includes a practice return. The Packers saw their best player resurface at Saturday’s practice after he’d missed all week of workouts. Although NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero points out Rodgers is still questionable (Twitter link) and the Packers will see how he looks Sunday morning, now that he’s gotten in a practice it’s a bit difficult to see the 34-year-old quarterback not suiting up Sunday against the Vikings. Swelling in Rodgers’ left knee remains an issue, per Pelissero (on Twitter), and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tabs it as unlikely the Packers will give their centerpiece a green light if he’s still sore or experiencing swelling from Saturday’s workout. But the 14th-year passer has dealt with myriad left knee trouble at several points in his career. That said, the Vikings’ defense may be the toughest unit he faces all season; and Minnesota’s front seven will be facing a surely less mobile Rodgers than it ordinarily would.

Here’s what’s new out of the NFC going into Week 2 Sunday.

  • Bobby Wagner serves as the anchor for the Seahawks‘ front seven, having played in 42 straight games. That streak will end on Monday night after the Seahawks declared their top linebacker out for their Bears game. K.J. Wright also will not play. Wagner is battling a groin injury, while Wright is still recovering from a knee scope. Perhaps this explains the team’s need to make the controversial decision to sign Mychal Kendricks, who may face prison time after pleading guilty to insider trading. Barkevious Mingo is the only starting linebacker Seattle will have available in Chicago.
  • Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan saw increased latitude this offseason in the team’s effort to restructure its offense, with Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writing the fourth-year Dallas OC was involved in the decisions to release Dez Bryant and move on from four offensive assistants. Linehan signed an extension in 2017 that calls for him to be paid approximately $2MM per season, George notes. This makes the Cowboys’ OC one of the NFL’s highest-paid assistants. George adds Linehan could well be on the chopping block if Dallas’ offense nosedives. The Panthers did not see much from Linehan’s unit in Week 1.
  • DeSean Jackson appears set to have another chance to face his original team. The Buccaneers wide receiver is expected to surmount concussion protocol and be on the field against the Eagles on Sunday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Jackson had his best game as a Buccaneer last week, hauling in five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

NFC Injury Notes: Rodgers, Falcons, Eagles

Aaron Rodgers will enter Sunday with a questionable designation on the Packers‘ injury report. The two-time MVP can improve his chances of playing, obviously, by practicing Saturday — when the Packers do more than the typical walkthrough — but not doing so won’t prevent him from playing. Mike McCarthy said he’d have no issues deploying Rodgers even if he doesn’t practice all week, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. The 13th-year Green Bay coach said his quarterback feels better than he did at the beginning of the week. Despite Rodgers’ performance on Sunday against the Bears and his history of playing through left knee pain, he’s not a lock to face the Vikings.

Here’s the latest from the NFC’s injury situations.

  • Another key Falcons cog won’t be available Sunday. After the losses of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, Atlanta won’t have the services of starting running back Devonta Freeman. He’s been declared out due to the knee injury he suffered against the Eagles. Tevin Coleman will start. The Falcons have rookie Ito Smith and recently signed Brian Hill in place as backups.
  • Once again, the Giants won’t have their top pass rusher available. While the Giants are hoping to have Olivier Vernon in Week 3, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter), his high ankle sprain will keep him out against the Cowboys.
  • Trai Turner‘s stay in Panthers concussion protocol will result in him missing this week’s game against the Falcons. He’s been declared out, putting Carolina down three starting offensive linemen — Turner and tackles Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams, both of whom residing on IR — going into its NFC South opener.
  • The already-banged-up Eagles didn’t come out of Week 1 unscathed. Darren Sproles will miss Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers. The 34-year-old passing-down back sustained a hamstring injury against the Falcons. He’ll join Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery among Philadelphia’s high-profile Week 2 absences.
  • Already without IR-stationed cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, the Bucs won’t have Brent Grimes available to cover Eagle wideouts, either. Tampa Bay used two second-round picks on corners, Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart, and could see an extended glimpse of the rookies’ development to this point in their careers.
  • The Lions49ers game will see the visitors without top guard T.J. Lang and the hosts missing deep threat Marquise Goodwin. Both players have been declared out. Kyle Shanahan said (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, on Twitter) Dante Pettis will start in place of Goodwin.

NFC Rumors: Johnson, Rodgers, Panthers

More details on David Johnson‘s Cardinals contract are emerging. In addition to the fourth-year running back seeing $24MM in full guarantees as part of his three-year, $39MM extension, Johnson will receive a $12MM signing bonus, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). His $5.7MM base salary in 2019 is fully guaranteed. The All-Pro’s 2020 base ($10.2MM) will have $5.1MM guaranteed fully at signing, per Graziano (on Twitter), but the other half of it is guaranteed for injury only. However, Johnson’s full 2020 salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the Cardinals’ roster by March of 2019.

Each of Johnson’s next three seasons include $750K in per-game roster bonuses. As far as cap numbers go, Johnson now has a $5MM hit this season. The former third-round pick will count $9.45MM against Arizona’s 2019 cap, $13.95MM in 2020 and $11.7MM in 2021, Graziano reports (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest out of the NFC, shifting toward its most important player.

  • Aaron Rodgers missed Packers practice again on Thursday, but this wasn’t unexpected. However, Mike McCarthy said it’s no layup that his two-time MVP quarterback will play Sunday against the Vikings, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Rodgers and McCarthy said Wednesday he does not need to practice in order to start Sunday.
  • It keeps getting worse for the Panthers. After serious injuries hit Greg Olsen and Daryl Williams in Week 1, Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner is in concussion protocol, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Both of Carolina’s starting tackles — Williams and Matt Kalil — are already on IR. Both can return after eight weeks, but at this point, it can’t be assumed both will be back. Carolina could lose a more important player to its cause. Only two players can be recalled from IR. Amini Silatolu filled in for Turner last season, but he may have to play right tackle Sunday. However, the Panthers added Chris Clark to potentially do that. In addition to Silatolu, Newton writes Tyler Larsen and rookie UDFA Brendan Mahon will have a chance to start in place of Turner — in the event he can’t go Sunday.
  • Demario Davis rated as a top-10 Pro Football Focus linebacker last year, doing so for his work as an inside linebacker. It was expected the high-priced free agent would man the middle for the Saints, but they’ve moved him to the weak side, NOLA.com’s Josh Katzenstein notes. Second-year man Alex Anzalone is now stationed as New Orleans’ middle ‘backer, but the team rotated he, Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein as Davis sidekicks in Week 1. Sean Payton said the team’s still determining how it will structure its linebacker usage. Davis played all 66 snaps in the Saints’ loss to the Buccaneers, while Anzalone led the others with 34. Klein functioned in Davis’ role in 2017, playing all of the Saints’ Week 1 snaps in his first game with the team.

Latest On Aaron Rodgers’ Status

Aaron Rodgers remains day to day after suffering a left knee injury against the Bears. However, signs could well be pointing to the superstar quarterback playing through this in Week 2.

The Packers quarterback said calling this injury a knee sprain would be accurate, doing so without revealing specific damage, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. That probably explains why Packers doctors allowed him to return to the game after he suffered what looked to be a potentially severe injury.

Rodgers did not practice Wednesday and has been “sore” the past three days. While he said he’s improving daily, the 34-year-old passer has dealt with left knee issues for years. Rodgers added (via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, on Twitter) that he’s experienced several problems with his left knee since he was a teenager. He underwent surgery on that knee in college and after the 2015 season.

A Packers-Vikings game altered the NFC landscape last season, after Anthony Barr‘s hit on Rodgers resulted in another broken collarbone. It seems somewhat safe to expect Rodgers to play this week in a pivotal NFC North game, but that’s not yet certain.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Mack, Rams, Rodgers, Luck

We previously heard that the Rams had made a bid on Khalil Mack, but the Raiders rejected the offer because the picks were going to be too low. Tonight, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported (via Twitter) that Los Angeles ultimately offered Oakland a first- and third-round pick.

However, the Rams didn’t see much of a future with Mack, especially after handing Aaron Donald a lucrative $135MM extension. Schefter notes that the team would have turned around and traded the impending free agent (presumably after he inked his franchise tag) this offseason. The team was trying to go “all in” on the upcoming campaign, with the hope that they could pair Mack with Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers.

Instead, Mack was dealt to the Bears, who then signed the pass rusher to a six-year, $141 million deal. The 27-year-old had a big game in his debut with Chicago, collecting three tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a pick-six.

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

  • Raiders coach Jon Gruden sat down to discuss the Mack trade with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, noting that the star player “obviously” didn’t want to be in Oakland. “Obviously, Khalil Mack didn’t want to play here,” Gruden said (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “That’s what’s being missed here. He was under contract, Lisa. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA, never showed up for a training camp and it was obvious he wasn’t going to show up for the season. Don’t forget that. We have to get ready to play and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear.”
  • Aaron Rodgers sat out three series during last night’s contest before leading the Packers to a comeback victory over the Bears. While the quarterback may have tossed three second-half touchdowns, he’s not a sure-thing for next weekend’s game against the Vikings. Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t give any indications as to whether the team would start Rodgers or backup DeShone Kizer on Sunday. “We do have some information and no decision has been made,” McCarthy said (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). “We’re still collecting all the information.” NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Rodgers is pushing to play, and the team will continue to monitor the swelling in his knee as the week goes on.
  • We learned earlier today that Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson was going to miss several weeks as he recovered from a concussion. Fortunately, it sounds like reinforcement is around the corner, as coach Bill O’Brien told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop that cornerback Kayvon Webster is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an Achilles injury (Twitter links). However, the defensive back won’t be ready for next week, and the team will consider moving safety Kareem Jackson to cornerback as they deal with the injuries.
  • In an interview with Rapoport, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck discussed a “previously secret injury” to his right shoulder that he suffered while snowboarding. The injury occurred after Luck had suffered a labrum tear in 2015, and the quarterback ended up hurting his AC joint in his throwing shoulder during the snowboarding accident. For what it’s worth, Luck is convinced that the indiscretion didn’t do anything to slow his eventual rehab from labrum surgery. “I’ve seen more doctors than I can count on two hands over the past two or three years,” Luck said, “and the consensus — unanimous — is that the AC is not an issue, nor did it have an effect. The labrum is an issue.”

Aaron Rodgers Expects To Play In Week 2

Aaron Rodgers indicated after Sunday night’s comeback victory that he expects to be available for the Packers’ Week 2 contest against the Vikings, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Rodgers, of course, left last night’s game in the first half with a knee injury, but reappeared in the third quarter and led Green Bay to an improbable win.

Rodgers re-entered Sunday’s game with sporting an air cast typically associated with knee sprains, per Rapoport. He’ll undergo more testing over the next few days, and is expected to experience a bit of soreness as he recovers. However, the Packers boast one of the league’s most conservative medical staffs, says Rapoport, so the club likely wouldn’t have allowed Rodgers back on the field if any risk still existed.

Green Bay trailed 17-0 at halftime in its season opener, and fell behind 20-0 before a Mason Crosby third quarter field goal once again cut the lead to 17 points. Rodgers, amazingly, tossed three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a 75-yarder to Randall Cobb that sealed the win.

Rodgers, 34, agreed to a four-year extension late last month which made him the NFL’s highest-paid player at $33.5MM per year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bears

A much anticipated domino finally fell earlier this week when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers agreed to terms on his mega-extension. The deal made Rodgers the highest paid player in league history, and has reset the market for the next crop of signal callers looking to sign deals.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports took a look at the extension, and what it might mean for several other top quarterbacks. In a way only an expert could, he completely broke down all the cap implications the deal will have for the Packers over the coming years.

Corry notes that Rodgers’ annual salary of $33.5MM is an 11.67% increase over what Matt Ryan got on his record-setting deal, noting that it’s the “biggest increase over the previous benchmark under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.” The whole piece is worth a read, as few understand contracts as well as Corry.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Brett Jones, acquired in a trade with the Giants just last week, is the “leading candidate” to start at center for the Vikings in Week 1 according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Coaches “have raved about how quickly” Jones picked up the offense, writes Tomasson.
  • The Bears will likely “survey [the] cornerback market” according to Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Briggs also expects Chicago to add a defensive lineman in the coming days.
  • Bears tight end Adam Shaheen will be placed on injured reserve, but “could potentially return later in season” according to the team’s GM Ryan Pace (Twitter link via the Bears’ official account). Shaheen, last year’s second round pick, is suffering from both ankle and foot injuries.

Packers, Aaron Rodgers Agree To Extension

The Packers and Aaron Rodgers have agreed to a record-breaking extension, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Rodgers’ new pact is a four-year add-on is worth $134MM, according to former teammate James Jones (on Twitter). The deal includes $103MM in the first three years, $80MM delivered by March of next year, and the opportunity to earn even more via incentives. 

Rodgers has yet to ink the contract, but it is in the process of being finalized, according to Schefter. The deal should be formally completed before the start of the Packers’ season, which will be on Sept. 9 against the rival Bears.

Rodgers’ $33.5MM average annual value tops the $30MM AAV of Matt Ryan‘s extension with the Falcons and the $28.8MM AAV of Kirk Cousins‘ free agent deal with the Vikings, making him the league’s highest-paid player of all-time. After that, Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5MM), Matthew Stafford ($27MM), and Derek Carr ($25MM) rank as the league’s highest-paid QBs.

Rodgers’ signing bonus of $57.5MM is the largest in NFL history, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. And, with $4MM in escalators, he can reach a maximum value of $138MM over the course of the extension.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection and one-time Super Bowl champion is among the very best quarterbacks in the NFL today. In 2013, he signed a five-year, $110MM deal to become the NFL’s highest-paid player, but the market quickly advanced and Rodgers’ deal became one of the most team-friendly pacts in the NFL.

Before this latest deal, Rodgers was the ninth-highest paid player in the NFL with salaries of $20.9MM this season and $21.1MM in 2019. With the new contract, the Packers have restored him as the league’s financial kingpin.

Last year, Rodgers got off to a hot start before suffering a broken collarbone in Week 6. Although Rodgers missed significant time, he’s 100% healthy this year and poised to get back to his old form.

Since taking over as the starter for the Packers in 2008, Rodgers has thrown for 312 touchdowns (the second most in the NFL) and led the Packers to the playoffs in 8-of-10 seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.