Milwaukee Bucks announce Aaron Rodgers as part-owner

The Milwaukee Bucks have not lost a game since it was announced that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers purchased a stake in the team.

The team made an announcement during Friday night’s 116-92 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Rodgers was sitting court side with girlfriend Danica Patrick and Bucks owner Wed Enseld.

Rodgers, a southern California native, has spent the past 13 years with the Packers, leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2010.

“I’ve lived here for 13 years, I love this state, I love this region…to show my love and support for the rest of the region and our team in Milwaukee, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Rodgers told Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Telly Hughes during a television interview during Game 3.

Game 4 of the first round between the Bucks and the Celtics is set for Sunday at noon CT, no word on whether or not Rodgers will be in attendance.

Packers ‘optimistic’ about completing contract extension for QB Aaron Rodgers this offseason

Mark Murphy remains confident that a contract extension for quarterback Aaron Rodgers will get done this offseason.

Speaking at the NFL owners’ meetings Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers president told reporters that, even in the wake of the fully guaranteed, three-year, $84-million deal the Minnesota Vikings gave Kirk Cousins earlier this month, he believes the two sides will find common ground before the season starts.

“It’s obviously fairly recent,” Murphy said about the Cousins’ contract. “I’m still very optimistic we’ll get a deal done.”

Rodgers still has two years left on a contract extension he signed in 2014 that made him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at $22 million per year. But that deal is no longer paying him at the market rate. In fact, he’s now the ninth-highest paid quarterback, with the likes of Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo all making more.

How Rodgers’ contract extension will be structured is something everyone in the league is keeping an eye on. As the salary cap rises, some have suggested that a player’s contract could be tied to a certain percentage of the cap. It would mean the deal Rodgers signs later this summer won’t be topped right away by Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons or the next quarterback up.

While Murphy said he doesn’t foresee the team going in that direction, the deal Rodgers signs has the chance to be historic.

“We want Aaron to be a Packer for the rest of his career. He wants to play until he’s 40,” Murphy said. “It makes sense for both sides to figure out a way to get it done.”

NFL Scouting Combine: Day 1 observations

Indianapolis – The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is underway and the path to the draft is officially underway for not only the Green Bay Packers, but the other 31 teams in the NFL, as well. On Wednesday Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Mike McCarthy both met with the media.

Here are three observations from the first day of the combine:

Aggressiveness in free agency

There has seemed to be a renewed sense of optimism since Gutekunst was given the job as the successor to former Packers general manager Ted Thompson in January. The Packers, at times, thrived under the ‘draft and develop model’ that Thompson preferred. This past season it seemed as if the model failed the Packers, especially with the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers in early October.

In the absence of Rodgers there were few bright spots offensively. Wide receiver Davante Adams was tremendous with backup quarterback Brett Hundley, and the running back positon was solid with rookies Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Other than that, there wasn’t much to write home about.

Last offseason the Packers attempted to make a splash by signing free agent tight end Martellus Bennett. That move didn’t work out as Bennett underperformed and was waived after injury issues midway through the season.

Most of the renewed hope among fans is that the free agent market will be something that the Packers will be aggressive in this offseason. That was the talk of the day on Wednesday at the combine.

“Obviously, there’s limits on what you can do, but we’d like to be really aggressive and see what we can be in every conversation,” Gutekunst said of the upcoming free agency period. “Now, whether that leads us to signing a bunch or not, we’ll see. Like I said, there’s limitations there, but we’d like to be as aggressive as we can to try and improve our football team. At the same time, it’s a smaller market, it’s a little bit riskier market, so I think as my mentor and predecessor would say ‘you have to be very cautious as you enter that.’ But I think we’d like to look at every option we can.”

“We like the word ‘aggressive,’ but I think it’s like anything, you have to be in touch with reality of the process,” McCarthy said. “The process of veteran free agency is different today than it was prior to Brian [Gutekunst] being the GM.”

Aaron Rodgers’ contract

Obviously, Rodgers is the quarterback of the present and future for the Packers. That’s not earth-shattering news to anyone that pays attention to the NFL in any capacity. Rodgers thought of by the Packers as the best player in the NFL. He’s currently on a contract that expires after the 2019 season. Both he and the Packers would like that to change as there have been talked between the parties of an extension.

“I don’t know if there’s pressure [to get an extension done], but we certainly would like to get it done sooner rather than later,” Gutekunst said. “When you have the best player in the NFL it’s not going to be inexpensive, you know what I mean? Obviously, Aaron is a high priority, he’s a great player. That should take care of itself at some point.”

The answer Gutekunst gave was sparked by a question about the salaries that other high-end quarterbacks are anticipated to receive in free agency. Rodgers’ track record proves that he deserves to be shown a payday. It will certainly be interesting to see the amount of guaranteed money he receives if and when a contract extension with the Packers becomes finalized.

New life on defense

After nine seasons at the helm of the defense for the Packers, defensive coordinator Dom Capers was let go following the season. The Packers struggled on that side of the ball and McCarthy felt that a change was needed.

“Obviously, the last nine years I felt that internally we were able to take the resources that we had, build the vision, the plan for the upcoming season,” McCarthy said of the defensive side of the ball. “Obviously, I felt differently this year and the result was all of the coaching changes.”

Green Bay hired Mike Pettine as the replacement to Capers. Pettine has had stops as a defensive coordinator with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. He also has two-year stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns to his name.

While McCarthy shot down the idea of the hiring of Pettine being a total culture change, it is something that was needed.

“I don’t get too far away from the reality of how our operation is every day and that is the culture. Our culture is what makes it go. That’s how you sustain success. It definitely has been changed, on a lot of levels it has been adjusted, too.”

What Packers coach Mike McCarthy had to say at the NFL Combine

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at the NFL Combine as the team begins preparation leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s everything he had to say.

Q: Challenges of such a long relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers:
MCCARTHY: I think it goes all the way around. The way you interact with everybody in your program. Obviously, you have the 1 on 1 component. We’re both driven and focused on the same thing. As I watch Aaron now compared to his younger years, he’s the oldest guy in the locker room. It’s a different relationship for him in there then it was in the early years. Just staying in tune with that. From a pure football standpoint, as far as the scheme, just continue to grow that too. In specifics, what we’re going through now as an offensive staff is we’re spending a ton of time in the passing game particularly, doing a 12-year study, looking at his first six years compared to the last four, particularly the last three. Kind of breaking it down the first seven and last three and just seeing the differences in everything involved in that. Because this is the time when he goes away but when he returns in April, that initial meeting of these are the things we’ve done, here’s the history, the past, these are the changes and so forth. That part of it is always fresh for him. He likes a challenge so we make sure we continue to challenge him as we grow as a football team.

Q: Have you done similar studies in the past?
MCCARTHY: We have, I would say the last five or six years have been in the four-year realm. So, the chance to go back and take all 12 years, particularly the video of it and watch the origin of the concept, the original installation of it, how it evolved, what we got away from, what we stayed with. In this league, the evolution of scheme is the challenge and the focus that every coach goes through whether it be offense, defense, or special teams. The ability to stay on the front end of that curve and try to hopefully stay a step of so in front of your opponent in that particular challenge is where we’re always focused on. We have tremendous history with both Aaron and Brett [Favre] in ’06 and ’07. It’s really probably been as good for the coaches as it will be for the players when they get back. It’s brought us back to the basics in more ways than one.

Q: On the Free Agency plan for this upcoming period:
MCCARTHY: We like the word ‘aggressive,’ but I think it’s like anything, you have to be in touch with reality of the process. The process of veteran free agency is different today than it was prior to Brian [Gutekunst] being the GM. It’s a whole different breakdown and approach, really. That’s the first part of it, so you have the evaluation stage and then the application of it is really what it’s all about. It’s not just one thing that directly leads to another. We don’t want to lose good players, that’s something we’ve always focuses on, particularly our own. We’ve spent pretty much our 12 years here really focusing on improving from within but we need outside resources, we’ve determined that. At the end of the day it’s a market, it’s a market that every team is involved in and we’ll see what happens.

Q: How has the new front office structure been going?
MCCARTHY: It’s different, different structure, there’s meetings, communication is weekly. The reality of what I’m doing specifically, with new coaching staffs, predominantly, probably the last five weeks have been bunkered down with the offensive perimeter group going through the passing game and Mike Pettine has done the same with the defense. We’re kind of in a ‘year one format,’ kind of what you go through when you go into a place with a new staff. Unfortunately, we had an early start with a couple extra weeks before the Super Bowl. Our approach is the same. We’ve always made sure that when players get back on April 16th that we’re ready to go. Every minute that they’re available they’re our priority.

Q: Is the NFL Scouting Combine a fresh start no matter what happens the previous season?
MCCARTHY: I think more for the interaction for the media and the rest of the world, maybe. Really, you get a little time off, the assistant coaches had a little time off. Obviously, we were involved in staff changes. It really kicked off once we turned that first tape on and started to scheme evaluation for me. That’s really the day that the page is turned and you’re able to move forward. This is part of that new journey of 2018.

Q: On Mike Pettine’s scheme, 4-3 or 3-4?
MCCARTHY: Frankly, if you asked Mike if he plays the 4-3 or the 3-4 he’d say ‘yes.” That’s the reality of what a good defensive system is. The ability to utilize your players. We’ve never had that luxury of saying ‘we need this specific kind of player.’ I think when you’re picking where we’ve picked for as many years as we have, and with our prior focus on veteran free agency, we have to acquire good players. In our system, on offense, defense, and special teams we have to take advantage of those players and make sure we’re playing to their strengths and that’s no different with Mike.

Q: On the running back position and Ty Montgomery’s position:
MCCARTHY: First thing, Jamaal [Williams] and Aaron [Jones] did a lot of good things. Probably the most important statistic for me when evaluating players as far as you move forward to the next season is availability. I have a depth chart board in my office and it has their picture, original tag, number, and play time. Play time is a reflection of availability. None of our running backs this year were available for the whole season. That’s the first hurdle that they need to meet. In Ty [Montgomery]’s particular case, his availability the last three years has been his challenge. He’s a multi-positional player. He’s a running back, to answer the question, but he gives us great flexibility to use him so many different ways, so that won’t change. We’re going to need all those guys next year, so that’s going to be our approach.

Q: How can Mike Daniels benefit from a schematic change?
MCCARTHY: There will be some. It’s important for every coordinator through their positon coach, to play their scheme and more importantly their vision and make sure the play style is consistent. Mike’s playing style is a huge asset to not only our defensive line, but our whole football team. Schematically, I think you really just need to play to Mike’s strengths. Create the opportunities, and I think anytime you can get Mike in a one-on-one situation you’re probably going to see more production. I think it’s important. We’re not scorching the Earth or throwing out the baby with the bath water with our defensive approach. There’s some history there with our past defense that Mike [Pettine] will be able to carry over with his scheme. We’ll build off of that but the specifics of what he’s doing, but more importantly how he’s doing it, and even more importantly than that why he’s doing it, will make all of our defensive players, particularly Mike Daniels, better.

Q: On needing a culture change on defense:
MCCARTHY: I think that’s a big statement. I mean, culture change, I think you have to look at more of the definition of it is, from my perspective, my approach is you have an evaluation that you do each and every year. You have filters that you run your data, conversations, and all the input that you take from within, or even outside the organization in some small level. With that you assess. Obviously, the last nine years I felt that internally we were able to take the resources that we had, build the vision, the plan for the upcoming season. Obviously, I felt differently this year and the result was all of the coaching changes. I don’t get too far away from the reality of how our operation is every day and that is the culture. Our culture is what makes it go. That’s how you sustain success. It definitely has been changed, on a lot of levels it has been adjusted, too.

Q: Assessing Brett Hundley and his evaluation from 2017:
MCCARTHY: I think when you look at Brett [Hundley], like anything, you look at what he was able to accomplish. Now his live reps are on video. We felt that he could have been better prepared as far as our whole operation. You look at the evaluation as far as where he started, how he ended his season. He definitely improved throughout his opportunities there. I feel very good about that. I believe in Brett Hundley. I do fully recognize that he has a lot of football in front of him. He has a big upside and our structure and our coaching staff, we need to make sure that we maximize that. We also need to learn from the other parts of the offense that we didn’t do as good as we would have liked. We’ll learn from that and apply it forward. I do believe that Brett as a big upside and looking forward to getting back to work with him.

Q: On the health of Aaron Rodgers:
MCCARTHY: I can’t answer that. I feel confident that he’ll be ready to go. I had a short meeting yesterday with Dr. Pat Mackenzie and his assessment of everything is that everything looks good.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is ‘happy’ for Alex Smith

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is “happy” for new Washington quarterback Alex Smith.

Speaking a day after it was announced that Kansas City had agreed to trade its starter for the last five seasons to Washington for a 2018 third-round draft pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller, Rodgers said he’s glad Smith found a new home.

“I’m happy for Alex,” Rodgers told ESPN at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am. “Alex and I were drafted in the same year. A lot of talk I remember about us not being ready to play or we would have gotten picked behind the guys in the [2006] draft. Here we are, both us going into our 14th season. It’s pretty special.”

Smith was expendable because the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first round of last April’s draft and planned to turn the offense over to him. That could turn out to be a blessing for Smith, as not only is he getting a new start, he’s also getting a new contract — and it’s a big one.

According to multiple reports, Smith is expected to sign a 4-year, $94 million contract that includes $70 million guaranteed. In a league that doesn’t have mandated guaranteed contracts, Smith is getting nearly 75-percent of his deal guaranteed.

That surely didn’t go unnoticed by Rodgers, whose contract extension is reportedly a top priority for the Packers this offseason.

“He had a fantastic year last year,” Rodgers said of Smith. “Tough situation, obviously. They drafted (Mahomes). But for him to get an opportunity at a place that wants him, paying him the right way, I’m happy for him.”

Rodgers has two years left on his current deal that will pay him $20.6 million in 2018.

Last Hits: Lions 35, Packers 11

DETROIT – The Green Bay Packers finished their season with a 7-9 record after falling to the Detroit Lions 35-11 on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.

Seventeen last hits for the 17-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Randall Cobb in the final quarter of the season’s final game.

1. .This season didn’t go as planned for the Packers. When one of the NFL’s most important players goes down with an injury missing seven games in the middle of the season, things typically don’t go as previously expected.

2. The absence of quarterback Aaron Rodgers did just that for Green Bay. The Packers went from a team that was a Super Bowl contender to one that finished with a 7-9 record on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

3. When Rodgers left the field with his broken right collarbone on October 15th against the Vikings the reins were handed over to Brett Hundley at quarterback. Hundley went 3-4 in the stretch of games Rodgers originally missed. Those three wins came against opponents that will finish the season with a combined record of either 9-39 or 10-38 on the season (as of this writing, Tampa Bay has yet to complete their Week 17 game against the New Orleans Saints). The wins against the Buccaneers and Browns came in overtime.

4. To pin missing the season entirely on Hundley would be silly. While his play is certainly spotlighted because of the stark difference between he and Rodgers, the blame isn’t all his. Rodgers missing time this year showed that Green Bay’s roster has many holes that have been masked by the skill of Rodgers.

5. Those holes primarily fall on the defensive side of the ball. That was on display again as the Packers allowed 35 points to a Detroit Lions squad that finishes the year at 9-7 as rumors fly about whether or not they will fire their head coach, Jim Caldwell. This isn’t a piece being written to try and show how the Packers need to be fixed, but rather show that it does need to happen.

6. Hundley finished the day with 172 yards passing, a pair of interceptions, and a touchdown. One of the picks seemed to be a miscommunication with Geronimo Allison, and the other one was a pass intended for Jamaal Williams thrown behind him. The pass bounced off the hands of Williams into the waiting arms of Detroit linebacker Jarrad Davis.

7. Hundley did not finish the game, as Joe Callahan saw his first NFL regular season action for the final drive of the game. He completed 5-of-7 passes attempted for 11 yards in mop-up duty. Callahan’s appearance was one that doesn’t teach the world much about him. Allowing him to play extended action in a meaningless game may have been wise.

8. The reasoning for playing Callahan over Hundley would have been to see if he has what it takes to be the backup quarterback of this team. Over the past few months, if the Packers have learned one thing, it should be that if something were to happen to Rodgers again next season, they’re not in a position to be competitive with Hundley.

9. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford finished the day 20/29 passing for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He had receivers open down the field all day, and missed out on plenty more yards with errant throws. Green Bay’s defensive backfield had no answer for him.

10. Three Detroit wide receivers, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay had 80 or more receiving yards on the day. All three of them found the end zone and had a catch of 50 yards or more, as well.

11. Offensively, the Lions only rushed for 51 yards on 23 carries, but with a defensive backfield as weak as the one the Packers boasted, a successful ground attack isn’t necessary.

12. There’s a different feeling around the team as they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Many of the men in that locker room have never seen the season end before the calendar changes over to a new year.

13. “A lot of us have never experienced this feeling of not making the playoffs,” Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels said. “We’ve experienced the feeling of not making the Super Bowl but it’s a little different because you end on a high note, okay, you’ve got the Divisional Round, Wild Card, NFC Championship, but when you don’t make the playoffs it stings a little bit longer. It stings harder. It’s definitely a tougher feeling that you have to learn from.”

14. “Obviously, I’m disappointed on the way it went,” said linebacker Clay Matthews on the season. “I don’t think anyone anticipates, at least in this locker room and this organization, not making the playoffs and not playing for the Super Bowl. It’s just the standard we’ve set.”

15. Questions surround the Packers moving forward into the offseason. There was a report out late Saturday night that the Packers would be parting ways with defensive coordinator Dom Capers. A season like this raises questions like that one, including whether or not Ted Thompson should still be the man in charge in Green Bay.

16. Time will tell on all of the questions surrounding the Packers. They have plenty of time to answer them with their next meaningful game not until September of 2018. Until then, 2017 will be looked back at as a wasted year in the middle of the career of one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game of football.

17. If the Packers answer all of their offseason questions correctly, there’s very little doubt that they’ll be contenders for the Super Bowl next season. Even if they don’t, a healthy Rodgers at quarterback has proven to be a magic elixir before, and it may be once again.

Packers sign WR Davante Adams to contract extension

Davante Adams isn’t going anywhere.

The Green Bay Packers announced Friday they had signed the wide receiver to a contract extension. Adams was due to become a free agent in March.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it is a 4-year deal worth $58.75 million with an $18 million signing bonus. His $14.7 million per year average makes him among the top-5 highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL.

Since being a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the 25-year-old Adams has caught 237 passes for 2,811 yards and 26 touchdowns. But it’s really been the last 25 games where he’s turned it on, scoring 19 of his touchdowns during that time and putting together four 100-yard games.

“He’s making a lot of money this year. Hopefully we pay him sooner rather than later,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on Dec. 15. “He’s a talented a guy who has just proven it week after week. He’s tough to guard.”

The only concern about handing Adams the big deal is his history of concussions. He’s suffered three over the last 14 months, including two on illegal hits this year, the latest coming against Carolina on Dec. 17. That proved to be the end of his season as he was inactive last week and coach Mike McCarthy has ruled him out for Sunday’s finale against Detroit.

According to Spotrac.com, Adams was among 11 Packers set to be unrestricted free agents this offseason. His signing likely moves the focus to center Corey Linsley and safety Morgan Burnett.

A number of NFL players, including current and former teammates of Adams, took to social media to congratulate him.

QB Aaron Rodgers back on injured reserve

The 2017 season has come to an early end for Aaron Rodgers.

Just days after being activated from an eight-week stint on injured reserve for a broken collarbone, the Green Bay Packers placed the quarterback back on IR Tuesday afternoon after they were eliminated from playoff contention Monday night.

“Frankly, it’s what we thought was best for Aaron,” head coach Mike McCarthy said minutes after the announcement. “We felt this was the best decision.”

Rodgers played Sunday in a 31-24 loss to Carolina, but did so knowing his collarbone wasn’t 100 percent healed. With nothing but two meaningless games left — home to Minnesota and at Detroit — on the schedule, the team decided it was best to shut him down.

“With all the factors involved, we felt this was clearly in Aaron Rodgers’ best interest,” McCarthy said. “He’s not happy about. It’s a hard day for him. This is not the way any player wants to see their season come to a conclusion — being on IR.

“We all understand and appreciate and respect his competitive spirit, but we felt, as an organization, this was in his best interest.”

As a corresponding move, Green Bay resigned quarterback Joe Callahan to the active roster. The second-year player had served as Brett Hundley’s backup for much of the season but was cut Saturday to make room for Rodgers.

The team also announced it had released fullback Joe Kerridge from the active roster and quarterback Jerod Evans from the practice squad.

Packers fall to Panthers 31-24

The Green Bay Packers saw their playoff hopes all but die on Sunday afternoon against Carolina. The Packers, with Aaron Rodgers back on the field for the first time since October, saw their comeback hopes dashed when wide receiver Geronimo Allison’s fumble was recovered by the Panthers with 1:50 left in regulation.

The Packers trailed by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter before Aaron Rodgers found Richard Rodgers for a 24-yard touchdown with 2:43 left in regulation. Green Bay then recovered the subsequent onside kick off the foot of kicker Mason Crosby.

Rodgers was able to collect two first downs before finding Allison on a slant pattern on first-and-15. Allison caught the pass, took two steps and turned up field before he was stripped by Carolina defensive back James Bradberry and the ball was recovered by Mike Adams.

In his return from injured reserve Rodgers was unable to do enough to lead the Packers to a vital victory. He threw for 290 yards, finding the end zone three times on the day, but turned the ball over three times as well.

Wide receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb each found the end zone once on the day to go along with the touchdown catch by Rodgers. Adams did have to leave the game with a concussion after he was the victim of a blindside block from Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis following an interception by Rodgers.

The Packers fall to 7-7 on the season and can be eliminated from playoff contention if Atlanta defeats Tampa Bay on Monday night.

WATCH: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers takes part in a throwing session

Aaron Rodgers is apparently getting healthy.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback took part in a throwing session prior to Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the first time, at least in public, that Rodgers was seen throwing a football since breaking his right collarbone against Minnesota on Oct. 15.

Rodgers underwent surgery to repair his broken collarbone on Oct. 19. ESPN’s Adam Shefter reported that the two-time MVP could start throwing in six weeks, so he seems to be slightly ahead in his recovery.

Because Rodgers is on injured reserve, the earliest he could return would be Week 15 against Carolina. That’s three weeks from Sunday.

It remains to be seen if the Packers will still be in playoff contention when Rodgers becomes available. They are 5-5 heading into Sunday’s game against the Steelers and are coming off being shut out for the first time since 2006.