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.

Report: Packers set to visit with OLB Ahmad Brooks

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers are addressing a need at outside linebacker by meeting with former San Francisco 49ers veteran Ahmad Brooks, according to a report from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Packers face an uncertain level of depth at the position after allowing Datone Jones and Julius Peppers to leave the team in free agency. Add in the fact that rookie Vince Biegel has been recovering from foot surgery and it’s understandable Green Bay would be kicking the tires on a 33-year-old.

Brooks is four years removed from a Pro Bowl season in which he had 52 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two fumbles, and one interception. The 49ers released him on Friday to save about $6.1 million in the final year of his contract. He had also become one of the more distracting players on the roster.

Twice in 2014, Brooks was benched for complaining about his playing time. He was benched again the following season. But off the field, he was the focus of a misdemeanor sexual assault investigation, in which he was charged for groping a woman while she was sleeping at teammate Ray McDonald’s house.

The Denver Broncos are also reported to be showing interest in the 11-year NFL veteran.

Hundley sharp in preseason loss to Broncos

DENVER — Packers quarterback Brett Hundley got some extended playing time Saturday night, impressing in a 20-17 preseason loss to the Broncos.

Hundley completed 20 of his 30 passes for 186 yards, also rushing for 14 yards and a touchdown. He replaced Aaron Rodgers after just two offensive series’, playing through to the end and getting experience working with the No. 1 offense in a four-minute situation.

Denver was led by Trevor Siemian, who went 13-of-22 for 127 yards with an interception. But he had plenty of run support, as De’Angelo Henderson, C.J. Anderson, and Jamaal Charles combined for 92 yards and a touchdown. It was Charles’ debut after spending the previous nine years of his career in Kansas City.

Issues on the offensive line were evident for Green Bay. Denver recorded five sacks and eight tackles for loss, some because of the questionable play of second-year offensive lineman Jason Spriggs. A first quarter drive that seemed to be destined for a touchdown ended with a field goal after Spriggs allowed a sack of Rodgers on a third-and-seven.

It didn’t help that the Packer defense was getting carved up after linebacker Nick Perry left with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Following the injury, Denver ended a drive on a 16-yard Anderson touchdown run.

The Packers conclude the preseason schedule Thursday night hosting the Los Angeles Rams.

Legendary Packers RG Jerry Kramer named a senior finalist for HOF

GREEN BAY, Wis. — 50 years after his block during the Ice Bowl, legendary Packers right guard Jerry Kramer has been named a senior finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 class.

Former Tennessee Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile was also announced as a senior finalist Thursday afternoon.

Kramer has long been considered by fans one of the biggest omissions to the Hall, considering his contributions to championship during the Vince Lombardi era. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have happen to you,” Kramer said in Milwaukee in 2015. “Again, I grew up in a little town in northern Idaho and I thought someday if I got really, really lucky I’d be able to drive a logging truck…The whole professional football ride has just been a fantasy land for me.”

Kramer was named All-Pro six times during his career, also being named to three Pro Bowls.

Kramer was the only member of the 1969 50th anniversary team to not be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To be inducted for the class of 2018, Kramer would need to receive at least 80 percent of the votes from the 46-person committee. The inductees will be announced on NBC for a television event tentatively scheduled for Feb. 3, 2018.

Packers hang on for 21-17 win over Redskins

WASHINGTON — After coming out sluggish in the second half, the Green Bay Packers turned it on late for a 21-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers saw some time in the first quarter, finishing 6-of-8 for 37 yards and a touchdown. He left the game after connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Hundley took over for Rodgers, ending his night 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, though things slowed down in the second half. The first possession after the break saw the offense stall out after a 12-yard completion on 3rd and 9 was negated by a Jason Spriggs hold. Spriggs then allowed a sack on the ensuing 3rd and 23, resulting in a punt. With 9:45 remaining in the game, Green Bay had only put up 17 yards of offense.

But that’s when things started to click again.

Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led Green Bay in rushing, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. On the scoring drive, Hill had rushes of nine and 23 yards, the latter of which resulted in a score. The next closest yardage leader was Kalif Phillips, a true running back, who collected 17 yards on five carries. Ty Montgomery was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in practice.

Jeff Janis made his case to stick around for a fourth season by leading the team in receiving. He hauled in three passes for 63 yards, but also proved key with his blocking and special teams contributions.

There was still something left to be desired for punter Justin Vogel, who got plenty of work. He had eight punts, averaging 48.3 yards with a long of 63. But the issue was hangtime, with only one punt in the air longer than 4.5 seconds. That was a late 54-yard boomer that stayed up for 6.3 seconds, resulting in a bobbled catch by Washington with the Green Bay coverage unit in his immediate vicinity and ready to bring him down.

The Packers travel to Denver next Saturday night at 8:00 C.T.

Banged up Packers get ready to meet Redskins

WASHINGTON — The Green Bay Packers will be shorthanded Saturday night when they meet the Washington Redskins for preseason game No. 2.

With running back Ty Montgomery nursing a lower leg injury and Davon House (hamstring) and Damarious Randall (concussion) sitting out in the secondary, Saturday’s matchup will be a true test of Green Bay’s depth.

Its backfield will consist of rookies Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, and Devante Mays, while Quinten Rollins and Kevin King figure to be the starting corners. Josh Hawkins could also be in the mix. The Packers’ run game wasn’t very effective against the Eagles in the preseason opener, carrying the ball just 18 times for 47 yards.

The offense will be tested in the passing game, as well. With Aaron Rodgers unlikely to play, it’ll be Brett Hundley under center, backed up by Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill, who will battle for the No. 3 job. But their targets will be few and far between, with receivers DeAngelo Yancey dealing with a groin strain and Malachi Dupre still in the concussion protocol. That should leave plenty of reps for Geronimo Allison, Michael Clark, Trevor Davis, Jeff Janis, and Max McCaffrey to make their cases to make the 53-man roster.

Other areas the Green Bay coaching staff will be focused on include tackling (16 missed tackles vs Philadelphia), turnovers (two fumbles lost, one interception vs Philadelphia), and backup center (Don Barclay out indefinitely with an ankle injury).

Kickoff time from FedEx Field is set for 6:30 p.m. CT. on WKOW | TV.

Ty Montgomery, Josh Jones left Tuesday’s practice with injuries

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Two key members of the Green Bay Packers left Tuesday’s practice with lower leg injuries — running back Ty Montgomery and safety Josh Jones.

Montgomery was looking ahead to his first full season as a running back after making the position change from wide receiver midway through the 2016 campaign. Instead, he’s now focused on his health after coming up gimp with a lower leg injury. As Acme Packing Company writer Paul Noonan writes, the vague description of that injury could be cause for concern. But Packers beat writer Ryan Wood offered a bit of good news for Packer fans:

Montgomery endured a complicated ankle injury his rookie year in 2015 which required major surgery, cutting his season short.

Rookie safety Josh Jones was also injured in Tuesday’s practice, leaving on a cart while nursing his ankle.

The injury to Jones adds to a banged up secondary. Damarious Randall and Marwin Evans were both treated for concussions in Thursday’s preseason win over the Eagles. Randall has since been ruled out for Saturday’s preseason game with the Redskins.

Receiver Malachi Dupre (concussion) and center Don Barclay (ankle) have also been ruled out for the game in Washington, D.C.

Packers believe hits on Randall, Dupre were illegal

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers cornerback Damarious Randall and receiver Malachi Dupre left Thursday night’s preseason game against the Eagles after being aggressively tackled. And now coach Mike McCarthy is challenging the legality of those hits.

During a running play in the first quarter, Randall was hit in the side of the head on a crack block by Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs. That hit did not result in a penalty for Treggs, but Randall was ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion.

A more serious injury was endured by Dupre, the seventh-round draft pick out of LSU. During the fourth quarter, he was leveled by a hit from Tre Sullivan that resulted in Dupre being carted off the field on a stretcher. He posted his status from a hospital later that night.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes those hits were illegal, telling reporters Friday afternoon that tape of the plays have been submitted to the NFL to review their legality.

“Obviously, player safety is at the forefront of that,” McCarthy began. “…and when you see things like those two hits last night, they’re definitely of concern in the area of player safety.”

“If I turned them into the league, I don’t think they’re legal hits.”

The NFL could determine Dupre was a defenseless receiver on the play, a penalty that carries a minimum fine of $24,309 if the league finds Sullivan at fault. It’s uncertain how long it will take before the Packers hear back on the result of the review.

Packers Family Night: Schedule of events, things to watch for

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Saturday evening marks the 18th annual Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field, with plenty of activities and storylines to keep fans involved.

Schedule of events

Parking lot opens at 1:30 p.m.

  • Johnsonville Tailgate Village
  • American Family Insurance DreamZone
  • Airbrush tattoos
  • Oneida Nation and Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Sponsor tents and prizes

Lambeau Field gates open at 5:30 p.m.

  • On-field warmups begin at 6:30 p.m.
  • All-Veteran Parachute Team lands on field at 7:15 p.m.
  • Practice begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Practice concludes at approximately 9:20 p.m.

Where to watch

WKOW | TV and live streaming on NBC26.com

What to watch for

At running back, Ty Montgomery enters his first full season at the position after switching over from wide receiver. But rookie Jamaal Williams was taking some first-team reps during Thursday’s practice, so he could see some similar work Saturday night.

Linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will be key to providing a pass rush in the upcoming season. Can they put pressure on the quarterbacks?

Which cornerback stands out under the lights? It may only be a glorified practice, but rookie Kevin King has been standing out over the last few days after returning from a shoulder injury. Fellow rookie Josh Jones has caught the eye of many coaches as well.

In the return game, Trevor Davis has made it clear that’s where he wants to create his niche. But he’ll have to compete with Jeff Janis and now Randall Cobb, who’s recently expressed his desire to return punts this season.

UPDATE: Rookie DL Adams out “multiple weeks” with stress fracture

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers will be without yet another rookie after head coach Mike McCarthy revealed on Monday morning that defensive end Montravius Adams would miss “multiple weeks” with an unspecified foot injury.

UPDATE 8:57 a.m. CT | Adams suffered a stress fracture, with surgery expected to place him in the “questionable” category for the start of the season.

“He’ll be out a while,” McCarthy told reporters while letting out a deep sigh. “I don’t have the specifics of how that’s gone, but it’ll be multiple weeks.”

The injury appears to have been sustained early during Saturday’s first padded practice, first noted by Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Adams isn’t the first Packers rookie player on defense to be sidelined by injury. Linebacker Vince Biegel will start the season on the PUP list because of a foot injury that occurred on the very first day of OTAs.

Adams was a third-round draft pick out of Auburn, logging 147 total tackles in his four years with the Tigers. He finished his college career with two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.