Stafford’s record contract could mean bigger pay day for Rodgers

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions made quarterback Matthew Stafford the highest-paid player in the National Football League Monday night, but it could mean bigger things for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Stafford had been patiently waiting for a contract extension as he entered the final year of his most recent deal. He was rewarded with a five-year, $135 million extension with an average annual salary of $27 million.

For Rodgers, he could be paid even higher.

2019 will be the final year of Rodgers’ five-year, $110 million contract, which had previously made Rodgers the richest based on annual salary ($22 million). When asked about his status in June, Rodgers didn’t show much concern for his future contract.

“Well, that stuff usually takes care of itself,”  Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “I have a fantastic agent, he does a great job. He worries about that stuff.”

“When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself. I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I’m going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension.”

As pointed out by Acme Packing Company’s Aaron B. Hirschhorn, Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy addressed Rodgers’ situation during this summer’s annual shareholder’s meeting, saying Green Bay would like to come to an agreement with Rodgers prior to the final year of his current deal in 2019.

By locking Rodgers into a new deal before 2019, the Packers can avoid an even higher price tag by the time the New Orleans Saints have to address Drew Brees’ contract in 2018. That could mean a new deal for Rodgers is finalized within the next calendar year, while the Packers have $19.7 million in salary cap space.

Brewers make trade for Swarzak, still involved in Tigers discussions

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers have officially become buyers before the July 31 trade deadline, dealing outfield prospect Ryan Cordell to the Chicago White Sox for right handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak.

Swarzak has a 2.23 ERA this season in 41 appearances, logging his first career save in Monday’s win over the Chicago Cubs. The 31-year-old has a 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a career-best 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Milwaukee gets a solid reliever in the deal, but Swarzak will no longer be under team control after the 2017 season.

Milwaukee gives up it’s No. 17 prospect for Swarzak, though Cordell didn’t exactly earn glowing reviews from MLB columnist Jeff Passan.

In 68 games in Triple A Colorado Springs this year, 25-year-old Cordell is batting .284 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI.

More trades coming?

MLB insider Jon Morosi reports the Brewers are still in discussions with the Detroit Tigers in regards to a potential trade for Ian Kinsler and/or Justin Wilson.

No word on how serious those talks have become, but Milwaukee and Detroit have been closely linked in trade rumors over the past week. The Brewers and Athletics have also been in reports in recent weeks, as Milwaukee looks for a starting pitcher to add to their rotation. The A’s are looking for center field prospects in exchange for Sonny Gray — a position at which the Brewers are extremely deep.

Lions sign ex-Packers RG T.J. Lang

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the first time in his NFL career, right guard T.J. Lang will wear colors other than green and gold after his agent announced he’d signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions.

Lang was a mainstay in keeping Aaron Rodgers upright, spending the first eight years of his career in Green Bay. Terms of his new deal weren’t released, but Lang was told prior to the 2016 season that he was not among the team’s priorities in terms of contract extensions. That same reasoning led to the outright release of Josh Sitton last fall.

29-year-old Lang has never played fewer than 12 games in a given season, but will come into training camp this year fresh off foot and hip surgeries. He was injured late in Green Bay’s NFC championship game loss to Atlanta.

Monroe leads Bucks past Pistons 102-89

MILWAUKEE — While Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was limited on offense, Greg Monroe picked up the slack in a 102-89 win over the Detroit Pistons Monday night.

Antetokounmpo was held to just eight points in 36 minutes of play, while Monroe came off the bench to provide a team-high 25 points, along with 13 rebounds. It was Milwaukee’s first win streak since Jan. 13 and the team’s second double-digit win since losing Jabari Parker to his second torn ACL to the same knee.

Michael Beasley supplemented Milwaukee’s offensive output with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, helping build the lead up to as many as 22 points.

”Those two guys crushed us. And then our offense was pathetic,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. ”It was just a miserable night all around.”

Defensively, Milwaukee made progress as well, holding an opponent under 100 points for the first time in 20 games.

Pistons rookie Henry Ellenson was inactive in his first return to Milwaukee since being drafted out of Marquette. He was the No. 18 overall selection by Detroit last summer.

Pistons overpower Bucks 98-83 at the Palace

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 17 points and eight rebounds weren’t enough to overcome Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons in Sunday night’s 98-83 loss.

Drummond gave the Pistons 20 points and 23 rebounds, helping Detroit win the battle for boards 58-40. The Pistons were also the better shooting team, combining for 44.3 percent from the field, compared to the Bucks’ 39.1 percent. Neither team shot particularly well from beyond the arc, with Detroit just edging out Milwaukee 25 percent to 23.5 percent.

Rashad Vaughn’s performance was a far cry from his Saturday night performance against Brooklyn where he logged a career-high 22 points. In their first road game of the season, Vaughn added just five points on 2-of-8 shooting. He was also 25 percent from downtown, converting on just one of his four attempts.

Tony Snell saw 25 minutes of action, but added only four points. He’s still trying to adjust to a new system since being traded from the Chicago Bulls earlier this month. Early reports indicate he might not be given a contract extension with the deadline set for Monday night at 11 C.T.

Pistons blow past Bucks 102-78

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — For the third straight game, the Milwaukee Bucks allowed an opponent to go on a run, falling to the Detroit Pistons 102-78 Monday night.

The Bucks won their first two preseason games, but have lost each of their last three. The difference? Defense. Opponents have gone on runs of 41-6, 37-7, and last night 37-8.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker had strong showings in the first half, finishing with 21 and 18 points, respectively. They didn’t get much help elsewhere, getting outscored in the second half 62-30.

Greg Monroe added 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while the Pistons were paced by 23 points courtesy of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Michael Beasley (sprained right elbow), Khris Middleton (torn hamstring), Tony Snell (sprained left ankle), Jason Terry (sprained right ankle), and Rashad Vaughn (sprained left ankle) were all inactive for Milwaukee Monday night.

Shields, Burnett, Matthews ruled out vs Lions

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers will be more short-handed defensively than they originally thought, with officials ruling out safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Clay Matthews when they take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Cornerback Sam Shields was ruled out earlier in the week after visiting a concussion specialist.

Green Bay Packers press release:

Packers S Morgan Burnett (groin) and LB Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring) have been ruled OUT, and DT Letroy Guion (knee) and DE/LB Datone Jones (knee) have been downgraded to doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Lions.