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Frank Cignetti Jr. has never worked with Aaron Rodgers, but with all his connections to the Green Bay Packers and their offense, the team’s new quarterbacks coach probably feels like he has.

The longtime assistant spent the past two seasons coaching the New York Giants’ quarterbacks under Ben McAdoo, the former Packers assistant who coached Rodgers in 2012 and 2013. McAdoo’s version of the West coast offense was rooted in Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s system.

Cignetti, 52, goes even further back with McCarthy than McAdoo, who served under the Packers coach from 2006 until he left for the Giants in 2014. They were graduate assistants together in 1989 at the University of Pittsburgh and were reunited in New Orleans, where Cignetti coached quarterbacks in 2000 and 2001 in an offense that McCarthy coordinated.

It doesn’t matter, however, how familiar Cignetti is with the offense that Rodgers runs if he and the quarterback don’t hit it off. And after the way Rodgers reacted to losing his last position coach, Alex Van Pelt, who parted ways with the Packers last month, that might be more difficult than first thought. Rodgers said last week on ESPN Radio’s Golic and Wingo show that he “thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”

Van Pelt was the only one of Rodgers’ first four quarterback coaches who played in the NFL. That was something Rodgers was vocal about wanting after Tom Clements was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2012, but instead McCarthy hired McAdoo for that job. Van Pelt, a nine-year NFL veteran, mostly as a backup quarterback for the Bills, replaced McAdoo and formed a bond with Rodgers.

Cignetti’s work with Rodgers won’t begin until the offseason program starts in April, but it will be an important spring and summer for the 34-year-old quarterback.

“I don’t think it’s difficult at all,” Cignetti said last month of coaching Rodgers. “Because one, coaching’s teaching. And getting in that quarterback classroom, you build a relationship and you understand that, hey, we’re an extension of each other. And it’s so exciting to go out on that field whether it’s the practice field or game field and see these guys execute and make plays, I’m really looking forward to it.”

The corps of coaches around Rodgers has been overhauled. Joe Philbin has returned as offensive coordinator, a move that should make Rodgers happy considering how productive the offense was during his previous stint in that job, which included Rodgers’ first MVP season of 2011. In addition to Cignetti and Philbin, new assistant Jim Hostler, with the title of pass-game coordinator, will work closely with the quarterbacks and the receivers — even if it’s not yet exactly clear how the revamped coaching staff will work.

“My vision of it is really how Mike wants me to fit in to helping him put the game plan together, helping him coordinate the perimeter,” Hostler said. “Those are thoughts that I have that we have sort of thrown around. But how that all fits with Joe and all that will be done through the process. I think what Mike was interested in when he looked at me in this capacity was, one, I’ve coached the quarterbacks for him; two, I’ve been in the system with him although systems change and evolve; three, I think he understands that I’ve coached in other rooms, I’ve been in every room, I’ve coordinated. So those are things that will help me to do whatever they need me to do to help them.”

Like Cignetti, Hostler has previous experience with McCarthy. He was the quarterback coach in San Francisco in 2005, when McCarthy was the 49ers offensive coordinator.

Although the offense has evolved since then, the core of it remains intact.

“Very similar,” Cignetti said. “I look back when we were together in 2000 in New Orleans, the foundation of the system is in place from back in 2000. Now, through time, things change. So the last two years in New York, a lot of it was similar to what we’re doing here, but both sides also grow and change. Very familiar.”

Before he left, Van Pelt said he expected a big year in 2018 from Rodgers after the lost season this past year because of the broken collarbone. The last time Rodgers broke his collarbone (in 2013), he came back the next season to win his second MVP.

The task of helping Rodgers do that again now belongs to Cignetti.

“I love to coach,” he said, “and I believe part of being a successful coach is building trust and relationships.”

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Of the 16 players who had per-game roster bonuses for the Green Bay Packers this past season, only two of them — tight end Lance Kendricks and kicker Mason Crosby — collected the full amount.

The other 14 combined to miss a total of 57 games, therefore losing more than $2 million in bonus money this season.

The biggest loser was right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who missed out on $412,500 in weekly roster bonuses. His contract calls for a bonus of $37,500 for each game he’s on the 46-man active roster. Bulaga tore his ACL and played in only five games, thus collecting just $187,500 of a potential $600,000.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed out on $337,500 because he missed nine games because of his broken collarbone. The Packers saved the same amount with tight end Martellus Bennett, who appeared in only seven games for the Packers, although he did collect two more weeks of $37,500 bonuses from the Patriots, who got two games out of him after they claimed him off waivers.

Kendricks earned all $300,000 of his weekly roster bonus money because he was active all 16 regular-season games, and Crosby earned all $150,000 of his.

In all, the Packers paid out $5,981,250 of a possible $8 million in weekly roster bonuses — or 74.8 percent of the possible 2017 total. The unpaid $2,018,750 will be credited to the team’s 2018 salary cap.

In 2016, the Packers paid out 83.4 percent of their possible weekly roster-bonus money — another indication they were more injured this season, when they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

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Sunday’s NFC Championship Game should be a case study for the Green Bay Packers on how to not only survive but flourish without a starting quarterback.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings wrote the report on it this season.

It’s why Nick Foles and Case Keenum will decide who represents the NFC in the Super Bowl, and why the Packers are in an offseason of upheaval.

Everyone from team president Mark Murphy, the new overseer of all things football in Green Bay after he made significant changes to the organizational flow chart last week, on down through new general manager Brian Gutekunst and returning coach Mike McCarthy should watch and learn on Sunday.

Or maybe they already have.

It starts with the two quarterbacks, but it doesn’t end there.

Both teams provided their backup quarterbacks with the resources to win. Yes, quarterback play made a difference in both cases, but it wasn’t the overriding factor in their successes.

Still, it’s a good place to start.

When Keenum replaced Sam Bradford (who had replaced Teddy Bridgewater), he had 24 career starts under his belt. When Foles replaced Carson Wentz, he had 36 starts.

When Brett Hundley took over for Aaron Rodgers, who broke his collarbone in Week 6, the Packers were going with a first-time starter. McCarthy stated emphatically that the three years he had invested in Hundley as a backup made him the right choice for the job, but the Packers either underestimated the former fifth-round pick’s ability or his acumen for the offense.

The result was a wildly uneven showing from week to week.

Compare Hundley’s numbers to those of the other two:

  • Hundley (11 games total, 3-6 as a starter): Nine touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 60.8 completion percentage, 5.81 yards per attempt and a 70.6 passer rating.
  • Keenum (16 games, including playoffs, 12-3 as a starter): 23 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 67.2 completion percentage, 7.42 yards per attempt and a 97.3 passer rating.
  • Foles (eight games, including playoffs, 3-1 as a starter): Five touchdowns, two interceptions, 61.1 completion percentage, 5.84 yards per attempt and an 84.2 passer rating.

Perhaps the most telling number doesn’t show up in any of those stats, and that’s sacks. Hundley was sacked 29 times in 11 games, which, in part, speaks to his poor pocket awareness. Keenum has been sacked 24 times in 16 games and Foles six times in eight games.

But it runs much deeper than just the fill-in quarterbacks.

The top-seeded Eagles ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense and were No. 1 against the run. The Vikings ranked first in total defense and were second against both the run and the pass.

To be sure, the Eagles and Vikings were constructed differently. They don’t have the luxury of a future Hall of Fame quarterback, so they devoted resources elsewhere.

The Packers used 13.36 percent of their total 2017 salary cap on the quarterback position — 12.89 percent of that was Rodgers. They devoted only 40.77 percent of their cap space to the defensive side of the ball.

The Eagles, with the benefit of a starting quarterback on his rookie contract, needed only 5.2 percent of their cap space on the position, including just 3.97 percent on Wentz. Foles, who is on a two-year, $11 million deal, ate up just 1.05 percent of the Eagles’ cap space in 2017. Therefore, they could devote 45 percent of their cap to their defense.

While the Vikings’ quarterback-cap situation more closely resembled the Packers’, using 15.3 percent of their cap space on the position (including 12.23 percent on Bradford), they still managed to use 52.14 percent of their cap space on their defense.

In some ways, the Eagles and Vikings have done the unimaginable by reaching the conference title game without their starting quarterbacks. But upon closer inspection, thanks to veteran backups and championship-caliber talent and coaching on defense, it’s just that they were better prepared to survive without them.

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Here’s how one highly placed source at Lambeau Field handicapped the Green Bay Packers’ general manager race: “John Schneider would be a grand slam, but Brian Gutekunst would be a home run.”

Short of luring Schneider out of Seattle, the hiring of Gutekunst, the team’s director of player personnel since 2016, might have been the best-case scenario to both keep continuity and rebuild the Packers after a drop-off in the talent level that was exposed this season when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone.

The Packers are expected to introduce the 44-year-old Gutekunst as their new GM on Monday. The Packers announced Tuesday that Ted Thompson would no longer be in charge of the team’s personnel department but would remain senior adviser to football operations.

Among internal candidates, Gutekunst offered the best combination of scouting experience — both on the pro and college side — and people skills. This should offer coach Mike McCarthy the kind of pairing he’s looking for: a partner in roster building and the front-facing parts of the job.

Both Eliot Wolf and Russ Ball — the other two in-house candidates considered by team president Mark Murphy — came with plenty of upside as well. At age 35, Wolf is viewed as a dynamo in the area of pro scouting. The 58-year-old Ball, meanwhile, is masterful contract negotiator and salary-cap manager. When have the Packers entered into a bad contract or been in salary-cap hell since Ball took over in 2008?

The Packers risk losing Wolf, most likely to Cleveland, where former Green Bay scout John Dorsey already hired Alonzo Highsmith away from the Packers and would love the chance to bring on Wolf.

But if Ball can work under Gutekunst, the Packers want him to continue to manage their player-finance area. A raise and a promotion in title might do the trick because unlike Wolf, Ball probably wouldn’t have as many options to become a GM down the road.

The internal reluctance to hire Ball was rooted in the idea that he would be a continuation of the Ted Thompson way, i.e., largely ignoring free agency and relying heavily on the draft. In fact, Ball has had a large role in the Packers’ roster-building efforts the past two seasons as Thompson, 64, aged and cut back his schedule. It’s believed that Ball actually made the call on whether to re-sign free agents Julius Peppers and Micah Hyde last offseason.

Murphy said last week that the new general manager will be free to build the roster any way he sees fit, and that includes a more aggressive approach to free agency. Yes, Gutekunst worked under Thompson, so he’s likely to share some of the same views, but he’s expected to be more aggressive with veteran players.

Gutekunst also should be a more forward-facing leader of the personnel department. As Murphy joked last week, it would be hard to imagine the next GM being less visible and less accessible than Thompson, who left McCarthy to always have to answer in-season questions about roster moves.

For example, it was McCarthy who in 2008 had to be the main spokesman during the Brett Favre saga. In more recent times, it was McCarthy who had to answer for why the Packers surprisingly cut Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton right before the 2016 season opener or the Martellus Bennett situation this past season.

Issues remain after Gutekunst’s promotion. For one, where does it leave the Packers’ relationship with the Wolfs? Yes, Eliot is young enough and has plenty of time to find a GM job, although unless he’s willing to wait years, it won’t be with the Packers. And although former GM Ron Wolf hired Gutekunst, he hoped his son would someday hold his old job.

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At this point, it might be easier to list who’s still on the Green Bay Packers coaching staff rather than who isn’t.

After major changes on both sides of the ball, here’s how things look now under coach Mike McCarthy, who is under contract through the 2019 season after he signed a one-year extension late last year:


Coordinator: Position open.

Edgar Bennett was removed on Wednesday. It’s possible Bennett could return in a lesser capacity, but his three-year run as a non-playcalling coordinator is over. Top candidates include former Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, former Giants coach Ben McAdoo and current offensive line coach James Campen.

Quarterbacks: Open.

Alex Van Pelt’s contract expired after this season, and he was not retained. Van Pelt spoke late in the season about his desire to once again serve as an offensive coordinator, which he did for the Bills in 2009. Van Pelt and Aaron Rodgers worked well together, but fill-in quarterback Brett Hundley was not consistent enough after Rodgers broke his collarbone. Offensive perimeter coach David Raih worked closely with the quarterbacks this season, but Rodgers might rather have someone with NFL playing experience like Van Pelt did.

Receivers: Open

Luke Getsy, known as the coach who introduced juggling and other tricks to the receivers in his two seasons on the job, left to become the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State. If Bennett stays on staff, he could go back to coaching receivers like he did from 2011-14.

Offensive line: Position filled

Campen is a top-five offensive line coach in the NFL. He also is essentially the run-game coordinator. He developed middle-round draft picks like David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley into players at the top of their position, and is extremely popular among his players. He’s the Packers’ longest-tenured assistant coach, dating to 2004, but this job could open if Campen becomes coordinator either in Green Bay or elsewhere.

Assistant offensive line: Filled

Jeff Blasko, considered a rising star, finished his first season as Campen’s assistant.

Running backs: Filled

Ben Sirmans completed his second season with the Packers, and helped develop rookies Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones into the top two backs on the roster. Sirmans’ teaching background served him well, and he’s well-liked among players and staff.

Tight ends: Filled

Brian Angelichio has held this job for two seasons after coaching tight ends in Tampa Bay and Cleveland. Whoever becomes the new general manager needs to address the talent level here this offseason after the Martellus Bennett signing failed.

Offensive perimeter: Filled

McCarthy created this position for Raih last offseason but never really defined his role. He appeared to spend more time with the quarterbacks than the receivers.


Coordinator: Open

Dom Capers survived Colin Kaepernick running for 181 yards against his defense in 2012, the NFC title game meltdown in 2014, Larry Fitzgerald carving it up in overtime in the 2015 playoff loss and a No. 31 ranking in passing defense in 2016. But his nine-year run came to an end this week, when McCarthy fired him. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt and safeties coach Darren Perry likely are the top two internal candidates, but expect McCarthy to interview Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and other experienced coordinators.

Defensive line: Open

Despite developing Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark into bona fide three-down players, Mike Trgovac was out after nine seasons. Some thought he could be a candidate for defensive coordinator, a job he held with the Panthers from 2003-08. Assistant D-line coach Jerry Montgomery could be in line to replace Trgovac.

Inside linebackers: Open

This was one of the more surprising moves given that under Scott McCurley, second-year linebacker Blake Martinez led the league in tackles. McCurley had only two other players at his position group – Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas. McCurley had been with the Packers since 2007.

Outside linebackers: Filled (for now)

This job, held by associate head coach/defense Winston Moss, also could open soon. Indications are the Packers might move on from Moss even if he doesn’t get another job. He reportedly is on the Lions’ list of head-coaching candidates. Moss has been with the Packers since 2006, McCarthy’s first season as coach.

Safeties: Filled

Perry has deep ties to Capers; he played for the Steelers and Capers was his defensive coordinator. He came to Green Bay with Capers in 2009. He’s one of the internal candidates to replace Capers. Unlike Moss, there’s a good chance Perry remains with the team no matter what.

Cornerbacks: Filled

The young and energetic Whitt might be just what the Packers need in a coordinator. He’s tough on players, but they respect him. Whitt joined the Packers in 2008, one year before Capers arrived. He’s viewed as the leading internal candidate to replace his former boss.

Defensive front assistant: Filled

Jerry Montgomery was a highly successful college coach and recruiter before he took his first NFL job in 2015 with the Packers. He’s the likely replacement for Trgovac.


Coordinator: Filled

Ron Zook, the former college head coach at Florida and Illinois, completed his third season in charge of the Packers’ special teams. He replaced Shawn Slocum, who was fired after the 2014 season (a year in which Zook served as his assistant).

Assistant: Filled

Jason Simmons has been with the Packers since 2011 and in this spot since 2015. Zook relies heavily on Simmons.

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Here’s how one NFL agent described the Green Bay Packers’ general manager position:

“It’s the best job in the NFL,” he said. “Two reasons: No owner and Aaron Rodgers.”

Actually, there are 361,060 owners, and every last one of them is powerless.

The shareholders have zero say in anything that happens at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, and the de facto owner — team president Mark Murphy since 2008 — draws a salary just like any other team employee. It’s not Murphy’s own money on the line, which inherently means less meddling and more patience from the top. In other words, ideal working conditions.

Then there’s the quarterback. Rodgers turned 34 years old last month but was off to one of the best starts of his two-time NFL MVP career before he broke his collarbone in Week 6 of the 2017 season. Yes, Rodgers has had two major injuries — both times to his collarbone — in the last five seasons, but neither would suggest he’s injury prone.

The next general manager will have the unenviable task of finding a third franchise quarterback to follow Brett Favre and Rodgers. The last two full-time GMs (not counting coach/GM Mike Sherman) built their legacies because they nailed the quarterback spot. Ron Wolf wouldn’t be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame had he not pulled off the trade that brought Favre to Green Bay in 1992, and Ted Thompson wouldn’t have lasted 13 years had he not taken Rodgers with the first pick of his first draft in 2005.

Sure, Rodgers essentially fell into Thompson’s lap, but he learned under Wolf the value of a franchise quarterback. It was Wolf who asked Thompson to study film on Favre during Thompson’s first month on the job as a Packers scout. Wolf already had made up his mind about trading for Favre, but he wanted to see Thompson’s reaction.

Now that Thompson is out as general manager, it’s his successor’s job to continue the tradition of top-level quarterback play. The next GM will have the luxury of having perhaps a handful of drafts to find a quarterback and would be wise not to wait until Rodgers is at or near the end of his career.

The new GM also has a proven coach in Mike McCarthy who is easy to work with, which is key in a situation where a head coach is inherited and not hired. McCarthy showed he wouldn’t stand pat after the Packers’ streak of eight straight playoff appearances ended this season. He fired defensive coordinator Dom Capers plus at least two other assistant coaches Monday, and more changes could be in the works before the week is over.

All of that means Murphy should have his pick of the plum candidates. There are almost too many candidates, if that’s such a thing. There are at least three top-line personnel evaluators already in the building: Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst and Alonzo Highsmith. Yet Murphy respects Russ Ball, who worked closely with Thompson as his contract negotiator, but Ball doesn’t have a scouting background and hiring him could risk alienating — and perhaps eventually losing — the other three.

Current GMs John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland Raiders) and John Dorsey (Cleveland Browns) know exactly why the Packers job is one of the best in the league, and if any of them could get out of their current positions, they might jump at the chance. But because they’re all under contract, their current owners would have to let them out or accept players/draft picks as a trade. Dorsey just got hired in Cleveland last month, so that would likely eliminate him. But perhaps Schneider or McKenzie would push for the job.

“It’s a top-three job in the league,” another NFL source said. “You look for stability. That’s what you have in Green Bay.”

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The Green Bay Packers are only halfway to fixing their problems on defense.

The decision to change coordinators was the first step. Packers coach Mike McCarthy fired Dom Capers after Sunday’s season-ending loss at Detroit.

Whether it was Capers, the revered Fritz Shurmur or the inventive Buddy Ryan, it might not have mattered who devised defensive game plans and called plays for the Packers. The resources weren’t there.

Like most things in the NFL, it comes down to playmakers.

And that’s where general manager Ted Thompson failed Capers. Yes, Thompson devoted draft pick after draft pick to the defensive side of the ball, yet a dearth of impact players still exists.

Despite what coaches will say, the NFL isn’t about depth. Teams can lose players in bunches, but as long as they have one or two more difference-makers than everyone else, it doesn’t matter.

Quickly scan the Packers’ defensive depth chart — and consider the players on injured reserve, too — and it explains why Capers’ unit ranked 22nd in the NFL this season and hasn’t been in the top 10 since the Super Bowl season of 2010.

That Super Bowl defense had impact players at every level. There was B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett on the front line, and Clay Matthews and Desmond Bishop at linebacker. The secondary was loaded with talent — Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Tramon Williams and a young Sam Shields.

Like this season, that Super Bowl team faced injuries in mass quantities, but the injured-reserve list isn’t about numbers but rather names. There were so many playmakers on the 53-man roster that it didn’t matter who was on 15-man IR list.

That defense, also coordinated by Capers, ranked No. 5 overall and came up with key takeaways in every postseason game, including Collins’ interception return for a touchdown early and the Matthews/Pickett forced fumble late in the Super Bowl.

What did Capers have to work with this season?

The veterans among his group were an aged Matthews, who still plays with high energy but hasn’t been as effective; an oft-injured Nick Perry, who was a risk to re-sign last year in free agency; an inconsistent Mike Daniels up front and Morgan Burnett, who for all his versatility in the secondary is a jack of all trades but master of none.

The secondary was supposed to be built around Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who made his first Pro Bowl in 2016. But he inexplicably regressed. Veteran cornerback Davon House provided the steady play the Packers expected when they signed him to a one-year deal in free agency, and he battled gallantly through injuries, but the young defensive backs were either too inconsistent (Damarious Randall and Josh Jones) or too injured (Kevin King and Quinten Rollins).

The best prospect Thompson acquired on defense is Kenny Clark, the 2016 first-round pick who finished the season strong with 4.5 sacks in the final five games.

It’s not like Thompson ignored that side of the ball and tried to load up with weapons for Aaron Rodgers, although perhaps that would have been a better roster-building strategy.

In his 13th draft as GM last year, Thompson used his first four picks on defensive players: King and Jones in the second round, defensive tackle Montravius Adams in the third and linebacker Vince Biegel in the fourth. King didn’t have an interception before he went on injured reserve in need of shoulder surgery, and Jones had just one. Adams and Biegel were non-factors after both suffered offseason foot injuries.

Assuming Clinton-Dix bounces back next season, it’s not a stretch to say he and Clark are the only two defensive picks in the past five drafts that could be considered young defensive playmakers.

As much as coaching has been to blame for the Packers’ defensive struggles, the shortcomings in personnel remain as big an issue — if not bigger — for a defense that’s now in transition.

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If Davante Adams had not already proved his worth to the Green Bay Packers, what he did without Aaron Rodgers solidified it.

In parts of seven games with Brett Hundley as his quarterback, Adams caught 46 passes for 543 yards and five touchdowns. In parts of seven games with Rodgers as his quarterback, he caught 28 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns.

He was the Packers’ only receiver who managed consistent production after Rodgers broke his collarbone on Oct. 15.

It’s why last week coach Mike McCarthy, for the first time ever, proclaimed that Adams was the Packers’ “best perimeter player.” It was an unofficial moniker that previously belonged to Jordy Nelson.

The only issue with signing Adams to a four-year, $58.75 million contract on Friday was his concussion history. The 25-year-old suffered his third concussion in 14 months when Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis hit him with a blindside block on Dec. 17 at Carolina. Adams hasn’t played since, although it’s unclear if he could have played this week had the Packers not been eliminated from playoff consideration.

Adams returned without missing a game following his first two concussions, including the vicious hit he took earlier this year from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Last week, it was suggested to Adams’ teammate, Randall Cobb, that Adams shouldn’t play another game until he got a new contract.

“OK, well you tell him that,” Cobb said. “I’ll let you tell him that.”

Either way, the Packers did right by Adams with this deal.

They could have had him for somewhere in the $9 million to $10 million per year neighborhood had they done a deal in August or September, but Adams’ price just kept going up during the season.

Who knows what Adams would have drawn had the Packers let him get to free agency in March, especially if teams felt comfortable with his concussion history.

The Packers clearly did, even though they need to look back only one year at the case of cornerback Sam Shields, whose career ended last season because of multiple concussions. Shields was older (age 29) when the Packers released him with one year left on a four-year, $39 million contract in February. Shields suffered a concussion in the 2016 season opener and never played again. It was the fourth known concussion of his NFL career.

Adams’ known concussion count is at three in his four NFL seasons. As long as it stays that way, the Packers should be glad they kept their best perimeter player.

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Luke Getsy praised his blocking earlier this year. Mike McCarthy called him “the ultimate pro” this week.

Those are the kinds of things coaches say about a receiver when his best days are behind him.

So if the best thing Jordy Nelson’s receivers coach could come up with was his ability to block, and his head coach chose to praise his work ethic, what does that say about Nelson’s future with the Green Bay Packers — or at least his future as one of their $10-million-a-year receivers?

For years, Nelson was viewed as a bargain — both after he signed a three-year, $12.6 million contract extension in 2011 and then again after a four-year, $39 million deal in 2014. He’s had four 1,000-yard seasons and three with 85 or more catches, including two years with at least 97 catches.

That no longer looks like the case.

He’s due to make $10.25 million in salary and bonuses next season in the final year of the deal that still has him ranked as the 15th-highest paid receiver in the league based on average per year.

With fellow Packers receiver Randall Cobb also in the $10 million range (at $9.5 million next season) and Davante Adams expected to command even more than that as a pending free agent, it’s difficult to see how the Packers can keep all three around at those prices.

Perhaps it’s Cobb who would have to restructure his deal or be released, but he’s more than five years younger than Nelson, who will turn 33 in May.

So at this point, all eyes are on Nelson, who might not even play Sunday in the season finale at Detroit because of the shoulder injury he sustained last week against the Vikings.

Even Nelson admitted this week that he’s not sure what his future holds with the only NFL team he’s ever played for, the one that picked him in the second round of the 2008 draft and the one for which he and Aaron Rodgers have the franchise record for most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver combination — a total that reached 65 with Nelson’s six touchdowns this season before Rodgers broke his collarbone on Oct. 15.

“That’s not [a question] for me,” Nelson said. “I’m not worried about that right now.”

After the fast start this season, Nelson’s production plummeted. He didn’t catch a single touchdown pass in the eight games that Brett Hundley started. Anyone who thought it would automatically return when Rodgers came back in Week 15 at Carolina need only look at Nelson’s numbers from that game, too: three catches for 28 yards. That’s on par with Nelson’s season averages of 3.5 catches per game for 32.1 yards.

Nelson looks like he’ll finish with his fewest catches (53) since 2012, when he missed four games, with the fewest yards (482) and fewest touchdowns (six) since 2010.

“I’ve never put anything in my career on numbers,” Nelson said. “That doesn’t change if it’s a bad season or a good season.”

When asked if he’d call this a good season or a bad season, Nelson said: “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it too much. Obviously we’ve been in it week in and week out, so that’s something that you’ll think about after the season’s over.”

Nelson also said he hasn’t thought about what might happen if the Packers ask him to take a pay cut or restructure his deal.

“That would be a discussion we’d have if it happens,” Nelson said.

Hundley said he “couldn’t put a finger on it,” when asked this week why he hasn’t been able to get the ball to Nelson as much and in as many playmaking positions as he has with, say, Adams, who has flourished despite the change in quarterbacks. Nelson has averaged just 7.1 yards per catch from Hundley but 11.7 with Rodgers this season.

It was during Hundley’s long stretch as a starter that Getsy took to praising Nelson for his blocking.

“He’s been outstanding,” Getsy said. “He really is. There’s never been a blink of an eye. It really hasn’t. We’ve got to find a way to win games, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to do that.”

But it doesn’t change the fact that Nelson is having one of his least productive seasons or the fact that Packers coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged for the first time last week that Adams — not Nelson — is the Packers’ “best perimeter player.”

“Jordy’s the ultimate pro, he’s the ultimate teammate,” McCarthy said. “So he hasn’t [changed] at all, from my perspective. He’s the same guy every day. I understand what numbers say, but it’s about opportunities and being in rhythm. So I mean, if you look at some of the production even with the younger players in the Minnesota game, I don’t think it’s a surprise you see Brett, he throws to Trevor [Davis] more, he throws to Michael Clark more, just because that’s who he’s been practicing with.

“But Jordy, he’s going through a tough week with the shoulder, but like he always does, he shows up every day and he’ll do everything he can to get out there Sunday.”

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Jordy Nelson’s season is likely over, and the same looks to be true for Davante Adams.

The Green Bay Packers’ starting receivers are unlikely to play in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Detroit, leaving both of their futures in doubt.

Nelson suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday’s shutout loss to Minnesota, and coach Mike McCarthy said the 32-year-old is a long shot to play against the Lions. Adams remained in the concussion protocol on Wednesday and hasn’t played since he suffered his second head injury of the season on Dec. 17 at Carolina.

“It’ll be tough for him to make this week,” McCarthy said Wednesday.

Nelson’s production has slipped this season, and even the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers from his broken collarbone for the Panthers game didn’t jump-start the receiver. Nelson was leading the league with six touchdown receptions when Rodgers got hurt in Week 6 but hasn’t caught one since. He has 53 catches (his fewest since 2010) for 482 yards (his fewest since 2009). Nelson has one year left on his contract and is scheduled to make $10.25 million in salary and bonuses next season.

The Packers might have to consider cutting Nelson or asking him to take a pay cut if they re-sign Adams, who would be a free agent in March if a new deal isn’t worked out by then. Adams has a team-high 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 25-year-old’s production didn’t change much with Brett Hundley at quarterback. Of Adams’ 10 touchdowns, five came from Rodgers and five from Hundley.

McCarthy wouldn’t say whether the Packers have intentionally shut down Adams for the season because they’re out of the playoffs. “He hasn’t been cleared; that’s Davante’s status,” McCarthy said.

Without Adams or Nelson, expect rookie Michael Clark to see more action. The 6-foot-6 former college basketball player caught three passes for 36 yards on Saturday against the Vikings in his first career snaps in a regular-season game.

The Packers also are expected to be without running back Aaron Jones, who suffered a knee injury against the Vikings.