It’s been an active week at 1265 Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers became the NFL’s highest-paid player (again). Brett Hundley was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. And the Packers crumbled in the second half and lost, 33-21, to the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night.
Many Packers starters did not even travel to Kansas City, as head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff gave opportunities to players vying for spots on Green Bay’s 53-man roster, which will be announced Saturday afternoon.
Rodgers, who inked a four-year deal worth $134 million Wednesday with more than $100 million guaranteed, watched from Green Bay as the Packers opened up a 21-10 lead before the Chiefs reeled off 23 consecutive points. Green Bay finished the preseason with a 2-2 record.
Former Chicago head coach Mike Ditka said Rodgers is worth every penny.
“I’m happy for him,” Ditka said. “Well deserved. Pretty interesting the way salaries have escalated from my playing days.
“Aaron Rodgers is the best in the league. He’s the key to everything in Green Bay. You knew the Packers were going to take care of him. He won’t go any place but Green Bay, Wisconsin. The regular season is next week, so it will be time to earn his paycheck.”
Green Bay opens its 100th season against perennial archrival Chicago, hosting the Bears at Lambeau Field on the evening of September 9.
“I see a very competitive division, with the Packers and Vikings as the teams to beat,” Ditka said. “Detroit is hard to figure out, but with Matthew Stafford they are dangerous and Chicago will be better this season. I’d rather have them face the Packers at Lambeau in September—as opposed to December.
“When I played, it was great to play the Packers early in the season—it added to the rivalry to open up against your rival. It’s a great way to kick off the season with these two franchises with all their history and tradition. They’re both 0-0 and I anticipate a close, hard-fought game.”