NFL Teams Lining Up to Poach Packers Top 2 Players This Offseason

Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the sidelines during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on November 28, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers boast an excellent roster, but when free agency rolls around having a team this talented can be a double-edged sword. On top of that reality, internal issues between the team’s front office and the its two best offensive players stretching back more than a year are not likely to improve the situation.

The Packers are in the perfect spot, for this season anyway. At 10-3, Green Bay has assumed control of the conference with four games to play and holds the tiebreaker over the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both of whom have also won 10 times this season. If the Packers find their way to the Super Bowl for the first time in 11 years, let alone if they should win the Lombardi Trophy for the fifth time in franchise history, then everything might work out fine.

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If they don’t, the NFC’s most consistently excellent franchise over the last three decades could face intense upheaval in the form of the departures of both wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, potentially altering the long-held identity of the Packers for years to come.

Adams Rated Top Free Agent in 2022 Class

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GettyWR Davante Adams and the Green bay Packers have a sense of urgency in 2021.

No free agent this offseason, let alone free agent wide receiver, will be as coveted by NFL teams as will Adams — that is, at least, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).

PFF released its rankings for the 2022 free agent class back on Monday, December 6, and guess which Packers Pro-Bowler was sitting at the very top of it?

“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,” PFF wrote. “Matters become more complicated when you try to determine who is technically the highest-paid wide receiver and what the true annual value of their contracts are. 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 work around.”

Adams and the Packers have been back and forth in contract negotiations since the 2021 offseason, but those talks stalled in July. While both sides agree that Adams is worthy of the NFL’s most lucrative wideout contract, the ambiguity on what precisely that means has proven a hitch in talks around an extension.

Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins recently inked a two-year deal worth $27.250 million annually that included a $27.5 million signing bonus and a guaranteed total just north of $60 million, per Spotrac. Speculation is that Adams wants an annual salary, a signing bonus and a guaranteed amount higher than all of those numbers.

The Packers, in the name of the salary cap and personnel maneuverability, would prefer a deal structured more in the fashion of contracts signed Tennessee Titans wideout Julio Jones (three years, $66 million with $64 million guaranteed) or Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (four years, $80.1 million with $43 million guaranteed), which include less money annually but are deals with more longevity.

Rodgers’ Situation Will Factor Heavily Into Adams Negotiations

Aaron Rodgers Prevea

GettyAaron Rodgers, of the Green Bay Packers, looks to the scoreboard during the second half of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2021.

How things play out between Rodgers and Green Bay in the offseason is also likely to have an enormous impact on the deal that is ultimately struck with Adams, if one is at all.

The Packers aren’t likely to let Adams walk for nothing. Franchising him, however, might damage the relationship to the point that reaching a long-term deal becomes impossible. Losing Rodgers could create the same effect.

The reigning MVP was under contract through 2023, but after publicly feuding with an organization that Rodgers painted as non-inclusive when it came to personnel and play calling decisions, the Packers blinked and voided the final year of his deal. As such, he won’t actually become a free agent this offseason as Adams will, but will hit the open market following 2022.

However, Rodgers’ cap hit next year is north of $46 million. The QB’s maneuvers have pushed Green Bay to the brink and are likely to force the team’s hand once the season ends. The Packers will either have to negotiate a new contract with Rodgers to bring that astronomical and unaffordable cap hit down, something he would have to engage in willingly, or the team will almost certainly be forced to trade him for financial reasons.

All but eight or nine NFL franchises would line up to poach Rodgers in a trade deal, despite the three-time league MVP (or possibly four-time MVP by then, as he is currently second in FanDuel odds to win the award behind Bucs QB Tom Brady) turning 38 years old less than two weeks ago.

Beyond accommodating Rodgers from a contractual perspective, Green Bay also signed back wide receiver Randall Cobb this year at his behest. If the Packers continue to show Rodgers love and display a willingness to collaborate with him, the QB may choose to stay put, despite how hard he pushed for an exit prior to this season.

Should he stay, the chances of keeping Adams skyrocket and Green Bay remains a perennial favorite in the NFC. Should Rodgers go, signing Adams becomes even more of a priority while simultaneously becoming less likely, and the future of the team becomes immediately in doubt.

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