The Green Bay Packers are almost three weeks removed from trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders and have fans looking forward to how they will spend the first- and second-round picks they acquired for the 2022 NFL draft, but it would seem the Packers originally had a different trade package in mind.
Jeff Howe of The Athletic recently discussed the fallout of the Adams trade for the Packers and shared some new details about the situation that led to them moving on from one of the most accomplished receivers in their franchise’s history. For instance, he mentioned that Adams personally called head coach Matt LaFleur, general manager Brian Gutekunst and several other Packers decision-makers after the NFL Scouting Combine in the first week of March to tell them “he’d never again play for Green Bay.”
Howe also mentioned some of the trade packages that were talked about before the Packers and Raiders ultimately agreed to terms, including one that involved Green Bay getting a player in return for Adams. Here’s what he wrote on April 6:
The deal then nearly hit a snag when the Packers asked for a player in return. Initially, the Raiders offered their 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 second-rounder. Shortly thereafter, the Packers asked for the first-rounder and an undisclosed player. It doesn’t sound like the Raiders were going to accept that package, but the sides also realized such a deal actually wasn’t permissible, as league rules don’t allow a player to be involved in a trade for another player on the franchise tag. Finally, a few days after ironing out the contract with Adams, the Raiders agreed to send the pair of picks.
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Which Raiders Might Have Appealed to Packers?
Howe didn’t share which player the Raiders were unwilling to trade, but there are a few candidates on their roster that could have made sense from Green Bay’s perspective.
Darren Waller is the first name that comes to mind. At the time, the Packers had not yet re-signed Robert Tonyan and would have stood to significantly upgrade the position group if they had acquired the 29-year-old Raiders tight end. No disrespect to Tonyan — who is coming off an ACL tear that prevented him from building off a breakout 2020 season — but Waller is on a different level in terms of being a vertical threat. He has caught 252 passes for 3,006 yards and 14 touchdowns over his past three seasons and missed just five games, and while Tonyan can match him on the touchdown total, it’s hard to imagine it makes up for their other differences.
Keeping with the theme of an offensive return, the Packers might have also wanted a receiver back in the exchange. The only option that makes any real sense is Hunter Renfrow — who became a 1,000-yard receiver for the first time in 2021. It would have been the Packers effectively sayings, “You can have our best receiver and we’ll take yours.” The Raiders would have benefitted in the sense that they could pay Adams his big-money extension without having to worry about trying to pay Renfrow as he enters the fourth year of his rookie deal, but it would have somewhat minimized the impact of Adams’ addition to their offense if Carr lost one of his other talented receivers.
There weren’t as many clear-cut fits for the Packers on the defensive side of the ball, but it could have been worth inquiring about defensive end Clelin Ferrell even with him also entering the fourth year of his rookie contract.
Ultimately, though, it couldn’t have happened with Adams on the franchise tag.