It is how each side defines the “highest-paid wide receiver” that seems to be making negotiations more challenging, though.
Adams, who is entering the final year of his current deal and is due to earn about $16.76 million in 2021, has been intent on becoming the league’s highest-paid wideout throughout his negotiations with the Packers that date back as far as January. Currently, that distinction belongs to DeAndre Hopkins and the $27.25 million he earns annually on the two-year extension he signed with the Arizona Cardinals in September 2020.
The Packers, however, don’t seem to view Hopkins’ deal as the number to surpass, perhaps putting more stock in the per-year averages of players on longer-term deals such as Julio Jones (three years, $22 million annually) or Keenan Allen (four years, $20.025 million).
“I think a little bit with that particular situation is how you interpret what the highest wide receiver in the National Football League is getting paid,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters Thursday morning prior to practice. “I agree with him that he’s definitely worth that, and we believe that as well (as an organization). I think there might just be a little bit of a difference in what we believe is the highest-paid wide receiver and what he believes.”
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Adams Broke Off Negotiations With Packers
Right before Aaron Rodgers’ return to Green Bay, Adams and the Packers broke off contract negotiations after months of failing to see eye-to-eye on the appropriate compensation for a potential extension. Adams has been clear the result of those talks won’t motivate him to hold out of training-camp practice or the 2021 season — “I’m not a baby” — but that doesn’t mean he is willing to budge on what he believes the Packers (or another team) should ultimately pay him.
“I’ve earned the right to be paid the highest in the league,” Adams told reporters after Wednesday’s first camp practice.
There has been some speculation that Adams might soften on that stance some if the Packers find a way to ensure Rodgers — with whom Adams has a strong connection on and off the field — is part of their long-term plans beyond the upcoming season. The two of them linked up for 115 receptions, 1,374 yards and a franchise-record 18 touchdowns in 2020, strong enough to earn Adams the first All-Pro distinction of his seven-season career.
But while Adams has said before that Rodgers’ future could help him determine what to do about his own, there is no scenario in his mind where Rodgers coming back persuades him to take less money than he feels the highest-paid receiver deserves.
“No, that’s not going to happen,” Adams said. “It’s not about being a baby, but what other profession do you take less than what you have earned? That’s not how it goes, and the fans may see it different in certain ways and I’m sure there’s a lot of fans that see it the same way that myself, my family, my agent and most of the league sees it. I’m not a baby, so I’m not going to not show up and I’m not complaining about it. At the end of the day, I’m not poor right now. I’ll be OK to get through and go try to win a Super Bowl again, and that’s my main focus right now.”