Two-time All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams is headed for free agency next month unless the Packers decide to use the franchise tag to retain him for the upcoming year. Adams is arguably the biggest offseason domino in Green Bay aside from Rodgers, but the two sides have yet to begin discussions over a new contract. The delay comes just weeks out from a couple of major free agency deadlines that will ultimately push the Packers to a decision — the franchise tag deadline on March 8 and the official opening of the NFL free agency period on March 16.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took to Twitter Tuesday, February 22 to report on the silence between the team’s front office and its star wide receiver.
“If QB Aaron Rodgers is waiting for a Davante Adams deal to get done before making a decision, he’ll be waiting a bit,” Silverstein wrote. “There have been no discussions between the #Packers and Adams since the season ended, a source said. Team has until March 8 to decide whether to use the franchise tag.”
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Packers Must Make Decision on Adams, Possibly Before Rodgers Decides His Future
Adams has been selected to the NFL Pro-Bowl five years running and set franchise receiving records last season in receptions (123) and receiving yards (1,553), per Pro Football Reference. The year before, he led the league in receiving touchdowns with 18. The Packers don’t want to lose arguably the best wideout in all of football, and they certainly won’t allow him to walk for nothing. These realities add up to equal two potential options for the Packers moving forward.
The first thing Green Bay can do is sign Adams to a long-term deal. The prolific pass catcher negotiated with the team over an extension last offseason, but the two sides failed to come to an agreement. However, from the discussions emerged information about what Adams is looking for in a new deal.
“Adams made it clear he wanted to become the highest-paid player at the wide receiver position, and it’s hard to argue against him deserving that distinction,” according to an article published by Pro Football Focus.
(PFF) ranked Adams as the league’s best free agent prospect, offering a projected contract value of $93 million over four years with $65 million in guaranteed money. Unfortunately for the Packers, they must cut approximately $50 million in spending next season to meet NFL salary cap requirements, per Over The Cap.
Other free agents important to recent success in Green Bay include All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, tight end Robert Tonyan and wide receiver Allen Lazard. Not to mention, if the Packers to manage to entice Rodgers to stay, they will have to rework his deal via an extension likely to make him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL — or at least close to it.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported February 13 that Green Bay is prepared to spend “as close to the cap this year and spreading it into future years as much as possible” in order to retain Rodgers. The news came approximately three weeks after Rodgers told the media he was not interested in being a part of a rebuild next season.
Signs Pointing to Packers Using Franchise Tag to Keep Adams in 2022
Considering the team’s multiple free agency concerns and immediate contract priorities, the best path forward for the Packers may be to go with option No. 2 on Adams — the franchise tag.
The franchise tag exception allows a team to re-sign a player on a one-year deal that is worth either the average of the top five salaries in the NFL at that position from the year prior or 120% of the player’s previous year compensation, whichever number is larger.
“A franchise tag for Adams will be just shy of $20 million, making it less likely given Green Bay’s salary cap challenges ahead — but not impossible to workaround,” Pro Football Focus said.
With the franchise tag deadline just 15 days away and no long-term contract negotiations underway between the Packers and Adams, it is reasonable to speculate that the team is leaning toward bringing the wideout back for one season on a big money deal.
By kicking the can on that decision down the road another year, the Packers may best be able to sort out their finances and figure out a way to keep the Rodgers/Adams tandem in place for several more seasons to come.