The Green Bay Packers moved on from one of the best wide receivers in franchise history when they traded five-time Pro Bowler Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night, but it sounds like the NFC North champions tried everything they could to keep things from getting to that point.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Adams’ agents — Frank Bauer and Kenny Chapman — confirmed that the Packers offered to pay Adams more money than he will make on his soon-to-be-signed contract with Las Vegas, but he turned down the team because it was his “lifelong dream” to play for the Raiders.
More specifically, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic said in a story published March 17 that the decision was not about money or contract structure but rather “Adams wanting to pay with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, one of his best friends and his college quarterback at Fresno State.”
While the Packers’ exact offer to Adams might never be revealed, it would have needed to be a contract worth more than $28.25 million per season to outdo the deal Adams is going to be signing with the Raiders. Rapoport’s reported figures on the Raiders trade are a five-year contract worth $141.25 million, making him the undisputed highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL in terms of average annual value, over Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins ($27.25 million per year).
Instead, the Packers will lose their best receiver for the 2022 season and gain about $20 million in cap space to try signing another impact pass-catcher for Aaron Rodgers. There were still a number of notable veterans on the market as of the night of the trade, including Odell Beckham Jr., Will Fuller, Jarvis Landry, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Julio Jones, Jamison Crowder, Antonio Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Smith-Schuster signed with Kansas City Chiefs on Friday, March 18, according to a tweet from NFL on CBS.
Rodgers Was Aware of Adams’ Impending Departure
The Adams trade might have taken the NFL world by surprise on March 17, but Rodgers was evidently one of the few people not caught off guard by the news of his top receivers’ departure. Here’s what Schneidman wrote about the situation after talking to multiple team sources about how things transpired:
According to sources, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was aware of Adams’ disconnect with the team. One source said Rodgers knew this was coming even before he signed his new contract with Green Bay, though another source close to the situation added that Rodgers still believed Adams would remain a Packer in 2022. After all, Adams said himself he wanted to be the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, and sources say the Packers were willing to exceed DeAndre Hopkins’ $27.25 million average annual salary to do that.
Rodgers’ being kept in the loop on developments with Adams isn’t too surprising. He is a close enough friend with Adams that it would make sense for them to communicate while each decided his future path. The Packers also lit a powder keg of drama the last time they failed to properly communicate with Rodgers about a major roster decision — when they moved up for Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL draft — and have surely learned from their mistakes over the past few offseasons.