Aaron Rodgers gives a thumbs-down during practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Aug. 16.

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Packers to sit Aaron Rodgers, starters in preseason finale

Rookie inside linebacker Quay Walker is the lone starter scheduled to appear for the Green Bay Packers in their preseason finale this week.

Aaron Rodgers will again slide through the preseason with only sideline observer duties in what head coach Matt LaFleur said was a “risk vs reward” decision in settling on a playing time plan against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Knowing it’s a long season, 17 games,” LaFleur said Tuesday morning. “I think early on we get stressed with travel as well. I’m just trying to factor in everything.”

Rookie second-round pick Christian Watson, a receiver activated from the physically unable to perform list, might also see the field with Jordan Love making another start at quarterback.

The Packers lost the regular-season opener last season to the Saints in a game that was moved to Jacksonville, and LaFleur wondered aloud whether some of the team’s mistakes could’ve been avoided with more preseason reps.

“I think there are a lot of lessons that you take from those experiences that, hopefully, having gone through that will help us avoid maybe a similar situation,” he said. “But I look at our team, I think we’re in a much different place.”

The Packers kick off the 2022 regular season at the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 11.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) participates in training camp on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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Aaron Rodgers: Brief preseason appearances ‘waste of time’

The Green Bay Packers are undecided about whether to have Aaron Rodgers take some preseason snaps, but the two-time reigning MVP knows where he stands on the issue.

Rodgers told reporters Tuesday that he sees no benefit to playing in the preseason, something he has not done since 2018.

“I think it’s kind of a no-win situation to the outside of the building,” Rodgers said. “If somebody gets hurt: ‘I can’t believe they played our guys.’ But if we go out and have a stinker (to start the season): ‘I can’t believe they didn’t play them.’

“You’ve just got to do what’s best for the squad, and (head coach) Matt (LaFleur) is going to do that. He’s going to lean on the leaders of the football team and if he feels like we need to go out and play, we’ll go out and play. But I don’t want to just go out and play three plays. That, to me, is a waste of time.”

The Packers will start Jordan Love in their preseason opener Friday against the San Francisco 49ers, LaFleur announced, adding that a decision about Rodgers’ playing time had yet to be made.

The star quarterback said he was not speaking about it Tuesday in order to “send a message to” LaFleur, because he’d already communicated his opinion to the coach.

“I definitely don’t see any benefit to playing one series,” Rodgers said. “If we’re going to play, we should play a quarter, a couple of series, two to three series. Just suiting up for four plays, to me, is a waste.”

LaFleur said Rodgers’ stance “stimulates conversation” among the staff about how to approach the preseason. He added that Rodgers won’t play Week 2 of the preseason against the New Orleans Saints, leaving open the possibility he gets in some work in the preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We’ll probably look at it after New Orleans,” LaFleur said. “So don’t ask me for a couple weeks.”

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) has some fun during training camp Tuesday, August 2, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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NFL: No issue with Aaron Rodgers’ ayahuasca use

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won’t face discipline from the NFL over his revelation that he used ayahuasca.

Rodgers recently said on the “The Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that he drank the hallucinogenic beverage during a 2020 trip to Peru, and he emerged with “a deep and meaningful appreciation for life.”

However, because ayahuasca isn’t on the list of banned substances per the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union, Rodgers couldn’t get into trouble for using it, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Monday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Rodgers stated his belief that using ayahuasca helped him to his MVP season in 2020, when he posted league highs in completion rate (70.7 percent) and touchdown passes (48).

He came back to earn his second straight MVP award, and the fourth of his career, in 2021, when he threw for 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns and four interceptions as the Packers went 13-4. However, the Packers were upset in their first playoff game, falling 13-10 to the visiting San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.

Rodgers, 38, is a 10-time Pro Bowl performer who ranks 10th in NFL history in both passing yards (55,360) and completions (4,651) and fifth in touchdown passes (449).

He led Green Bay to a Super Bowl championship after the 2010 season, but his .524 postseason winning percentage (11-10) pales when compared to his .675 regular-season winning percentage (139-66-1).

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks to pass the ball during Packers Family Night on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

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Jordan Love to start preseason opener for Packers

Jordan Love is the starter for the Packers in their preseason opener on Friday with Green Bay undecided about putting Aaron Rodgers on the field before September.

Love gets all of the work with the first-team offense against the San Francisco 49ers, head coach Matt LaFleur said, giving the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft a chance to show his strong training camp is not a fluke.

LaFleur said Love has shown “a lot of growth” this summer.

“Jordan, it’s been pretty impressive what he’s been able to put together the last few practices,” LaFleur said.

Rodgers signed a three-year, $150 million contract extension in the offseason after weighing retirement and a trade demand, which kept Love in the backup role for at least another season.

Love, 23, has appeared in six NFL games for the Packers, including a dreadful showing at Kansas City in 2021. He has two touchdown passes, three interceptions and 411 passing yards for his career.

He’s in his third season and under contract for 2023, with a team option for 2024.

Rodgers has not played in a preseason game since 2018. LaFleur said conversations about getting Rodgers reps would come “after New Orleans,” meaning the Packers are likely rolling with Love for the first two preseason games.

–Field Level Media

May 31, 2022; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers player  Romeo Doubs (87)  during organized team activities (OTA) Tuesday, May 31, 2022 in Green Bay, Wis.  Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers loving underdog rookie WR

Aaron Rodgers’ penchant for donning his GM cap persists even after the Packers paid up to keep the Green Bay quarterback content.

Rodgers, working with a reshuffled stack of talent at wide receiver in the aftermath of No. 1 target Davante Adams moving on via trade to the Las Vegas Raiders, said he likes what he sees so far in training camp.

Rodgers said he envisions Allen Lazard replacing Adams as his top option, and they’ve connected early and often in training camp.

“Allen Lazard is going to step into the No. 1 role,” Rodgers said, “and I think it’s going to be a very seamless transition for him as a primary blocker and kind of a niche guy for us, to get an opportunity to get more throws, be No. 1 in the progression more often.”

But there could be big things in store for fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs, who is winning over Rodgers in training camp and making headlines with his big-play flair. Doubs has taken advantage of second-rounder Christian Watson spending the first week of camp on the physically unable to perform list, and Sammy Watkins being slowed out of the gate.

“Romeo Doubs has had a really nice start to the camp,” Rodgers said. “He’s been getting a lot of attention based on some of the plays that he’s made. I like the approach. Very understated kid, very humble kid from kind of inner city L.A., made his way to Nevada.”

Doubs, 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds, was All-Mountain West at Nevada with 80 receptions and 11 touchdowns in 11 games in 2021. Before opening eyes at the Senior Bowl on the pre-draft circuit, Doubs caught national attention with a 19-catch, 203-yard showing at Fresno State last October.

“I was sitting with him at lunch the other day and really just marveling,” Rodgers said. “It’s surprising how many teams passed on him. Whatever reason it was, we all feel really good about Romeo and the start he’s gotten off to.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrate together after connecting for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers touts ‘Hall of Famer’ Allen Lazard as No. 1 WR

Count Aaron Rodgers among the members of the Allen Lazard Fan Club.

Transitioning from Davante Adams to a new, as yet undefined No. 1 wide receiver in Green Bay, the Packers’ MVP quarterback said Wednesday he believes Lazard is ready for the role.

“I mean it’s always tough going from Hall of Famer to Hall of Famer. From Davante to Allen, it’s gonna be a transition, but he’s capable of a lot,” Rodgers said during an interview in the locker room.

Adams said in an interview he was adjusting while going from Hall of Famer (Rodgers) to Hall of Famer (Raiders quarterback Derek Carr) in Las Vegas.

Adams was traded to the Raiders, leaving Rodgers and the Packers to establish a new pecking order in the receiver room.

Green Bay signed Sammy Watkins, a former first-round pick, and veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb is also back but surrounded by questions at the other receiver spots.

Unless you ask Rodgers.

The statement goes beyond just words to media. Rodgers threw a 50-50 pass down the center of the field for Lazard against safety Adrian Amos in Wednesday’s workout at training camp. Lazard focused on the deflected pass and secured the reception while going to the ground and spun it in celebration in the highlight of the on-field work.

“Who I don’t think we need any patience with is Allen. I really think Allen is ready to make a jump and be a No. 1 receiver,” Rodgers said.

General manager Brian Gutekunst said earlier Wednesday that the Packers view Lazard as a lead receiver, adding “The sky is the limit for him.”

A fifth-year pro, Lazard caught 40 passes for 513 yards with eight touchdowns in 2021, including four TDs in the final three regular-season games.

The 26-year-old has 109 receptions in 42 career games (25 starts) — or the type of production Rodgers and the Packers expected from Adams in one season.

The undrafted player joined the Packers from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad in 2018 and is playing this season on the restricted free agent tender of $3.986 million.

“He’s been our dirty work guy for most of his career here,” Rodgers added. “Now he’s getting an opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver.”

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst (left) laughs with new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur at his introductory press conference in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst (left) laughs with new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur at his introductory press conference in the Lambeau Field media auditorium..

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Reports: Packers extend coach Matt LaFleur, GM Brian Gutekunst

The Green Bay Packers awarded contract extensions to head coach Matt LaFleur, general manager Brian Gutekunst and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball, multiple reports said Monday.

The terms were not revealed, but it was reported that the extensions were agreed to months ago.

Speaking with reporters Monday, Packers president Mark Murphy said, “I’ll just say I’m confident not only Matt and Brian but Russ Ball will continue to be Packers employees for years to come.”

The Packers have gone 39-10 with three NFC North titles in three years under LaFleur and are 45-19-1 since Gutekunst took over for Ted Thompson as GM in 2018.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Packers wideout Davante Adams were apparently disillusioned with Gutekunst during 2020 and 2021. The pair at one point posted the same image of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on their Instagram stories.

At the height of Rodgers’ unhappiness with the Packers organization, the posts were read as a reference to “The Last Dance” docuseries, in which Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was painted as a villain. Rodgers reportedly referred to Gutekunst as “Jerry Krause” in texts with teammates.

Gutekunst and the Packers still managed to convince Rodgers to return to Green Bay after he’d privately claimed he’d never play for the organization again. He signed a contract extension in March that will pay him $150.8 million over the next three years.

Adams, meanwhile, did not receive the deal he was looking for and was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) warms up before the Green Bay Packers divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.

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Packers sign QB Aaron Rodgers to $150M deal, lowers ’22 cap figure $18M

Aaron Rodgers signed the dotted line and made his return to the Green Bay Packers official on Tuesday with a three-year, $150 million contract that lowers his salary cap figure $18 million.

Rodgers reportedly took less money than the Packers offered in hopes of making it possible for Green Bay to retain more talent.

Rodgers can exit the deal at the end of each season, but the salary cap ramifications for the Packers would be dire. His dead cap hit for 2023, for example, would be $62 million.

His new deal pays $41 million in 2022, $59 million in 2023 and $49 million in the third and final year of the deal. The 2023 contract is built largely around a $58.3 million option bonus, which puts the Packers in position to reshape the contract and push future cap hits down the road.

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs makes $45 million annually.

For Rodgers, who termed his future with the team a “beautiful mystery” in 2021, it also sets up a dramatic decision date every offseason until the deal is done.

The Packers and Rodgers are mending fences following a year of acrimony based at least in part on the team’s decision to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Rodgers said trust and loyalty issues with general manager Brian Gutekunst developed as veterans were either traded or allowed to leave.

Those charges helped open dialogue between the Packers’ front office, Gutekunst included, and Rodgers last season. The Packers acquiesced by trading for Rodgers’ friend and former teammate Randall Cobb prior to last season. When offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos in the offseason, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur involved Rodgers in seeking his replacement.

The resulting hire was Tom Clements, with whom Rodgers has worked in Green Bay previously.

One massive question left for the Packers to settle surrounds All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. With $40-plus million committed to Rodgers and two starting linebackers re-signed Tuesday, there is not enough in the coffers to appears Adams.

He’s not going anywhere — yet — because the Packers used the franchise tag to retain him at over $20 million in salary for 2022.

Adams reportedly informed the team he won’t play on the franchise tag, which will invite trade rumors and concerns he’ll hold out, leaving Rodgers with little to work with at the position.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in a time out during their NFL divisional round football playoff game Saturday January 22, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

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Clock ticking for QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers still on hold

Aaron Rodgers planned to decide whether to stay with the Green Bay Packers by the end of February. Eight days later, the reigning NFL MVP remains in limbo.

Rodgers also said in January following a home playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers that he would make a decision on his future before the franchise tag deadline, which is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

The quarterback officiated the wedding of teammate David Bakhtiari over the weekend as the clock ticked for the Packers, Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams is expected to be designated the team’s franchise player for 2022 while the Packers sort out a messy salary cap situation.

On Monday, ESPN reported Rodgers received a new contract offer from the Packers that would “reset the QB market,” implying an annual salary exceeding the $45 million per season the Kansas City Chiefs pay Patrick Mahomes.

Rodgers, 38, was named MVP in February, claiming the honor for the second consecutive season.

Rodgers and the Packers mapped this climactic decision day as a step forward last offseason, when the level of acrimony between general manager Brian Gutekunst and Rodgers became apparent before the 2021 draft.

Gutekunst said in February the team placed “no deadlines” on Rodgers and would work to build a roster ready to compete for a Super Bowl. Gutekunst said the Packers “absolutely” want Rodgers back for his 18th season with the franchise.

In a May 2021 interview, Rodgers openly questioned the franchise’s loyalty, confessed he was bothered by the team drafting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round in 2020 when the roster had other needs, and came clean about his disdain for decisions to let veterans leave in free agency.

But a restructured contract and the idea that the 2021 season was set up as a potential “last dance” helped Rodgers and the front office find improved harmony. He has heavily involved in discussions about personnel, including the Packers trading for wide receiver Randall Cobb, and when offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett became head coach of the Denver Broncos, Gutekunst and Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur looped in Rodgers on the call to hire Tom Clements as the quarterbacks coach.

Among teams reportedly waiting on a Rodgers decision with trade offers are the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with wide receiver Davante Adams (17) after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter during their football game Saturday, December 25, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The touchdown Adams ahead of Jordy Nelsons for touchdown receptions from Rodgers.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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Packers GM: No deadlines, working closely with Aaron Rodgers

Brian Gutekunst has a goal and his preferred outcome begins with a commitment from 2021 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to play for the Packers next season.

But the process in Green Bay might not play out on the general manager’s ideal schedule. Because Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur want to understand Rodgers’ plans before making other moves, Gutekunst said Wednesday at a scheduled press conference there are “no deadlines” where Rodgers is involved.

This means that as of Wednesday, the Packers are in much the same position they were after the loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs: waiting for the Rodgers domino to fall.

“This has been more of a conversation about where we’re headed together. This is a process we’re going through, and a process he’s going through,” Gutekunst said.

“We’ve had really good conversations with Aaron.”

The layered offseason for the Packers is fraught with variables and salary-cap concerns. Rodgers could still retire or ask for a trade, a determination he said Tuesday he hasn’t yet made. He could also return to the team, or indicate he’ll come back only if the Packers address his contract.

All of the “hypotheticals” have Gutekunst working on a matrix of if-then scenarios that would dramatically alter the direction of the Packers — at least in the short term.

Gutekunst said the Packers are also hopeful unrestricted free agent Davante Adams is with the organization going forward. When asked about using the franchise tag to retain Adams at more than $18 million for 2022, Gutekunst said he’d prefer to reach a long-term deal that works for both sides.

Getting that done might be even more improbable than keeping Rodgers content given Adams position that he wants to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals had the highest wideout salary of $27.25 million in 2021.

The Packers are well over the projected salary cap of $208 million for 2022, even after restructuring the contract of nose tackle Kenny Clark on Wednesday.

Gutekunst professed he is “very confident” the Packers are in position to “compete for championships” with Rodgers and Adams. He said retaining the high-priced playmakers would not prevent the Packers from being competitive, or kick-start a fire sale.

That includes one valuable backup on the roster — Rodgers understudy Jordan Love, a first-rounder in 2020.

“I would be very doutbful to take any of those calls,” Gutekunst said of any trade offers for Love.

Rodgers sent Green Bay and the NFL-watching world into a tizzy with an Instagram post in which he heaped gratitude on Adams and wide receiver Randall Cobb and spoke partially in past tense. But Rodgers said Tuesday in an interview with Pat McAfee that he had no final answers on his future yet.

Gutekunst continues to nurture the relationship with Rodgers, agitated by the Love draft pick and exacerbated by what Rodgers said in 2021 was disrespect from the GM.

In the most recent example of giving his quarterback a voice, he said the franchise welcomed Rodgers’ input on hiring quarterbacks coach Tom Clements for another tour of duty in Green Bay.

Asked to measure the worst possible outcome of losing Rodgers and Adams, Gutekunst said the Packers would still compete.

“We’re going to field a competitive team regardless. We’re the Green Bay Packers,” Gutekunst said. “We may have to do things different ways if those hypotheticals come into play.”

–Field Level Media