How Steelers’ Contract Standoff Could Impact Davante Adams & Packers

Adams/Watt Contract Talks

Getty Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers works out during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field on July 29, 2021 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin.

As Davante Adams continues negotiating a new contract with the Green Bay Packers, he might want to keep his eye on T.J. Watt’s situation in Pittsburgh.

Adams told reporters this week there was “no chance” he would be signing a new contract with the team before Sunday’s season opener, confirming what many believed would be the case despite the popular trend of NFL teams extending their star players ahead of the first game of the regular season.

The Packers and their star wide receiver have been engaged in long-term extension talk on and off for the past several months with Adams firm in his belief that he has “earned the right” to be made the NFL’s highest-paid at his position on his next contract. To that point, the Packers agree with him, but the two sides have different interpretations of how much such a deal should be worth with the team reluctant to hand him DeAndre Hopkins money ($27.25 million in average annual value).

Now, though, it would appear the Packers and Adams disagree on more than just the value.

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Adams Turns Attention to Guarantees From Packers

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Adams has turned his attention to getting fully guaranteed years on his next contract from the Packers, who are “standing firm” in their desire to only offer guarantees through a signing bonus. Silverstein’s source also noted this puts the Packers and Adams in the “same stalemate” as the Steelers and Watt, who is said to be seeking full guarantees beyond the first year of a potential new deal with the team, per the latest report from NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.

In other words, Adams and Watt are both pushing for their teams to change their organizational philosophy on guaranteed money and set a new precedent, meaning one could end up inadvertently helping out the other’s extension case if one team caves to their star’s demands, despite being players of different positions.

Guaranteed contracts are not the norm in the NFL, unlike the NBA and MLB, but the majority of teams are willing to cross into that territory when it comes to retaining their stars. The Minnesota Vikings did it with quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2018 when they agreed to fully guarantee his three-year contract. Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, however, have notoriously been against the premise and have drawn criticism from agents on their “archaic” policies.

“The Steelers’ policy of not having guarantees beyond Year One, I’ve spoken to agents not connected to the T.J. Watt thing who rooting for T.J. Watt and his agents on this one because it drives them nuts. And they’re not the only team that does it. Cincinnati does it. Green Bay does it,” NFL insider Mike Garafolo said on September 8.

“In T.J. Watt’s case, he’s looking at Joey Bosa’s deal because, remember, you’re always comparing it to the other guys at your position. Bosa’s got fully guaranteed money essentially into the third new year of his contract and the Steelers are saying, ‘No, we want to keep the fully guaranteed money in Year One.’ It really only makes it harder for them, which is why I really don’t understand this archaic way of thinking — that’s the word agents are using when I ask them about it — because now you’ve got to load up the signing bonus and increase the salaries year by year by year to make the player feel good. You’re basically conceding a point on your own by having this policy of, ‘Hey, we’re not going to guarantee money into the future.'”

Update (09/09 at 4:35 p.m. ET): According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Watt and the Steelers agreed to a four-year contract extension worth more than $112 million that comes with $80 million guaranteed at signing. He is now the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

Adams Not Fretting About New Contract

Adams knows what he wants from his next NFL contract, but putting pen to paper is not something he is stressing with days to go until the Packers’ first game of 2021. Instead of worrying about the money, he is thinking about the New Orleans Saints and picking up where he left off in 2020 when he caught a franchise-record 115 passes for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns despite missing two games with an injury early in the season.

“I feel like I had one of the best camps of my career. (I) was able to really lock in, come back and get re-acquainted with my brothers,” Adams told reporters on September 8. “Me and 12, we picked up where we left off. It’s just the way that I have found success coming up from all stages of life, just focusing on that moment. It’s not like it took any work to do that, it’s just blocking out the rest of the stuff that I don’t really need at the time, which is some of that other (contract) stuff that we’ve talked about. I don’t really need that right now. What I need to do is make sure my body feels good (and) my mind is right for Sunday, and that’s the main focus right now, the thing I’m most concerned about.”

The Packers will kick off their new season against the Saints at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 12.

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Frank Bublitz
Frank Bublitz
12 days ago

I hope they can figure out how to pay Adams what he wants. BUT guaranteed money is a slap in the face of the business owners, salespeople, and the others who pay the NFL’s way.

” Archaic” is one rule for the rich and one for everyone else. That’s been around since Biblical times. Pay for what you have not yet earned, that’s modern bullcrap.

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