Can The Packers Afford Davante Adams (And Do They Want To)?

To say it’s been a whirlwind start to the Green Bay Packers 2021 training camp would be an understatement. All eyes are on Titletown right now as Aaron Rodgers has reported to camp, attended his first practice and held his first press conference/therapy session. Things appear to be trending upward with QB1 (for now), but what about Rodgers batterymate and fellow superstar? Can the Packers afford to pay Davante Adams (and do they want to)?

Adams is set to become a free agent after the 2021 NFL season ends, and conventional logic would say that you do whatever it takes to lock up arguably the premier pass catcher in the NFL. But what if this is indeed the “Last Dance”? If the Packers sign Davante Adams to a market setting new contract now and Aaron Rodgers leaves the fold in 2022, does Adams fit with the youth movement the front office may have in mind? 

Oct 15, 2018; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with wide receiver Davante Adams (17) following a touchdown during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Too Rich For Green & Gold Blood? 

The Packers front office has been in negotiations on a long term extension with Adams’ camp since the end of the 2020 season, but talks broke down between the two parties a week ago. In the days since, some have speculated that Adams wanted to ensure that Rodgers would indeed be the one throwing him passes. With Rodgers now in the fold, Adams was quoted as saying he’s amenable to discussing his contract once again, but deserves to be the top paid wide receiver in the NFL. It’s hard to blame him. 

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins sits at the top of the market with a new two year extension coming in at a whopping $27.25 million per season. Tennessee’s Julio Jones comes in at second place with $22 million per. You’d have to assume that $23-$25 million per season is the starting point for Adams, and if he holds true to his word it could mean an average annual value in the $30 million dollar range. 

The Packers have fallen victims to their own success. Boasting top ranked players at almost every position eventually yields to salary cap gridlock; who do you pay, and who moves on? In addition to Adams, the Packers will be forced to make tough decisions about fellow wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, top tight end Robert Tonyan, budding superstar corner Jaire Alexander (5th year option vs new deal) and key role players like Kevin King and Lucas Patrick. Packers salary cap guru Russ Ball will be earning every dollar of his own paycheck this coming off season. 

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 26: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after his first down in the first inning against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field on September 26, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Will The Pack Pony Up? 

One school of thought is that every offense needs play makers and who better than a proven performer and fan favorite? Obviously the Packers just doled out a rich new contract to franchise left tackle David Bakhtiari, and certainly they knew that it may not be Aaron Rodgers that he would be protecting in the latter years of his deal. The Packers may decide that Davante is worth a big money deal because he’s a difference maker no matter who the quarterback is. If Aaron Rodgers does indeed depart, it makes the salary cap gymnastics much easier but will Davante put pen to paper if he isn’t assured that Rodgers will be under center come 2022 and beyond. 

If the Packers front office views the 2022 season as a time of transition they may decide to let someone else back up the Brink’s truck for Adams. This could come in the form of letting Adams walk and hopefully netting a high compensatory pick. The Packers could also go the route of using the franchise tag and trying to garner a trade package more in line with someone of Adams stature. Utilizing the draft and cap savings to build around the next Packers starting quarterback 

Beyond fielding another Super Bowl caliber team, it will be fascinating to watch how all of these personnel subplots unfold in the coming season. How the Packers view the future could be tied directly to how they handle Davante Adams contract situation, and may also be an indicator if this is indeed Aaron Rodgers last dance.

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