Rodgers calls contract talks part of partnership with Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' preseason work looks like it's done -- after all of seven plays -- which should give him plenty of time to focus on his contract negotiations.

Except the Green Bay Packers quarterback said that not part of his thought process.

"I've said it every time because it's not B.S., it's the truth: Dave [Dunn] handles my contract," Rodgers said as part of a lengthy interview that will air on ESPN Milwaukee radio in segments throughout the week. "Obviously, it's important to me. Obviously, I'd love to finish my career here. But I'm busy right now. I'm being a leader on this team. I'm focused on being the leader of the team. And if nothing gets done, it won't change anything. Because all I'm worried about right now is playing ball.

"If something does get done, it's fantastic. It's great. Then I'd think about that I can finish my career here -- hopefully. And that changes the down-the-line stuff, the legacy stuff can be even more important. But I'm not thinking about that."

Earlier this year, when news of contract negotiations first broke at the scouting combine in February, it seemed likely that by the time Rodgers was done with the preseason, he'd have a new deal.

Rodgers made his summer debut in Thursday's win over the Steelers, the second of four preseason games. He played one series and capped it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to his new tight end, Jimmy Graham.

"It's plenty," Packers receiver Davante Adams said when asked if that was enough playing time for Rodgers and the starting offense. "That's more than enough. I mean, I think we've all been able to show in a short amount of time that we're ready to go, get some of our plays run and some of that stuff. I'm ready for the real action at this point. Preseason's fun, you get to interact with your crowd a little bit, but definitely ready. Wouldn't mind holding off until the season at this point."

It looks like Adams will get his wish.

On Monday afternoon, Rodgers was back to leading the scout team -- something he did before the preseason opener against Tennessee, a game in which he did not play -- and while doing so was working with most of the regular starters. Last year, Rodgers played two series in preseason game No. 3 but based on Monday's practice, it looks like he won't play at all on Friday at Oakland. The Packers close the preseason on Aug. 30 at Kansas City, and Rodgers hasn't played in a preseason finale since 2012.

That should leave contract talks as the only Rodgers-related storyline between now and the Sept. 9 opener against the Bears.

Rodgers still has two years left on a five-year, $110 million deal, but the Packers have made it known publicly that they want to extend the 34-year-old, two-time NFL MVP. Any deal would once again make him the NFL's highest-paid player, so the remaining talks likely center around structure. There have been reports of opt-out clauses and guarantees tied to a percentage of the salary-cap.

"I'm not trying to screw them, you know," Rodgers said during the radio interview. "This is a partnership. That's the only way this is going to work, and the best way things work in this situation is that we're in this thing together. And if they make that financial commitment, that's what they're saying, and also there's an expectation that you're going to play well. And then that's my side of the bargain."

Rodgers correctly pointed out that even though his last deal made him the NFL's highest-paid player, it never put the Packers in a position where they had to cut players solely to create salary-cap space. Rodgers is scheduled to make $20.9 million this season and $21.1 million in 2019. His salary-cap charge didn't reach the $20 million mark until 2017 and the highest cap number is next year's $21.1 million.

"If you ask the team about the last deal we did, and you ask me, both sides are happy, right?" Rodgers said. "They paid me a lot of money, and they never had a major salary-cap year. A year that other quarterbacks have had -- [Drew] Brees has had, [Joe] Flacco's had, and these guys here you have $28, $29, $30 million against the cap. Right? That's never happened with my contract. So in both our opinions, we've been able to still add guys to the mix and have a competitive team. And from my standpoint, they paid me a ton of money. And I'm super extremely financially blessed and very happy."