Over the past two seasons, both of which culminated in MVPs for Aaron Rodgers, the Packers star QB connected on 238 receptions for 2,927 yards and 29 TDs with Davante Adams. Now, with the news of Adams' trade to the Raiders to reunite with his college QB Derek Carr, everyone is left to wonder exactly what went wrong with their relationship.
The Green Bay Packers placed the Franchise Tag on Adams at the deadline. It was then made known that Adams was unwilling to play on the franchise tag, and would be looking for an extension. When Adams was unwilling to sign an extension with Green Bay, which his agent reportedly admitted was larger than what the Raiders offered, the Packers moved on.
The Packers could have stayed put and let Adams sign an offer sheet with the Raiders, which they could have either matched or not. The latter of those two options would have netted them two first round picks. Alternatively, if the Raiders weren’t prepared to shell out two firsts, the Packers could have done nothing and let Adams eventually sign the franchise tag at some point before the first game. Presumably, because of the $20 million that comes with the Franchise Tag, Adams wouldn’t have missed regular season paychecks.
If I’m the Packers, I match the offer sheet and work on his feelings over time. A lot can change from March 18th to September 1st. The Raiders ultimately gave up one first-round pick and one second-round pick in the deal, which is less than Green Bay would have received if they elected not to match an offer sheet Adams had signed with Las Vegas. Other players who fetched multiple first round picks in trades include: Jamal Adams, Jalen Ramsey and Laremy Tunsil. Adams is a comparable player to that group.
Former Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner says he, “understands why GB made the move,” because you cannot have a “player of his caliber visibly disgruntled and not expect it to hurt your chances.” Ultimately, Adams' agent acknowledged that the Packers offered more money, which shows a sincere effort to keep Adams. Banner also added that the return the Packers received is actually “significant.”
The other portion, which is necessary to note, is why the Packers did not address these upcoming issues sooner? In my mind, if the Packers attacked Rodgers’ contract more aggressively in early February and created a sense of urgency for Rodgers to make up his mind much earlier than March, they could have shifted their focus to Adams earlier and presumably reached an agreement before Free Agency. Banner agrees, saying, “For me it's just the timing. This occurs multiple days into free agency and they are left to figure out the pieces.”
If it had happened sooner, the team would know who is available in free agency at the position and can target them (Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson, Christian Kirk, etc). Now they are left with second tier free agent weapons, including previous cuts from this offseason.
In hindsight, the Green Bay Packers should have been managing Davante Adams in a much more meaningful way while they were managing Aaron Rodgers during the 2021 season, it would have led to a better outcome for them.