Green Bay Packers

Midweek Musings: Packers will thrive sans Adams

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Days after the fact, it’s still surreal that Davante Adams is no longer with Green Bay Packers.

Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders last Thursday, and explanations for the shocking departure remain in the realm of conjecture.

The typically-candid veteran receiver made no bones about his displeasure at the thought of a franchise tag when asked toward the end of the 2021 season.

Adams, en route to his second straight All-Pro season, felt his play warranted the richest receiver contract in NFL history. General manager Brian Gutekunst also admitted as much — a rare thing in a contract negotiation.

Embedded in the dispute was a disagreement on what terms constitute “highest-paid receiver.”

Lack of a contract led to the Packers’ use of the franchise tag on March 8, a decision that bought the Packers over four months to negotiate a new long-term deal.

With quarterback Aaron Rodgers back in the fold and multiple veterans cut for the sake of cap space, a new deal contract for Adams seemed inevitable. After all, why would a team seemingly on the cusp of the Super Bowl rid itself of its second-best player?

Despite a play-by-play from Peter King in his Football Morning in America column, all explanations of Adams’ motivations to leave Green Bay feel like half-truths.

It’s believable that Adams held interest in playing for his “hometown” team with longtime friend Derek Carr. Not so believable are reports that Adams’ heart was always in Las Vegas and even a Herculean effort from Green Bay management wouldn’t prevent his departure.

The Packers had a role in this. The team had every opportunity to extend Adams prior to the 2021 season, but instead played chicken with a potential Hall of Famer.

Now Gold Jacket Tae will finish his career elsewhere, and the Packers are left with a Canton-sized hole in their receiver room. And yet, maybe it’s for the best.

There’s already been a lot of chatter that this trade slams the Packers’ Super Bowl window shut. Don’t believe it.

While the reactionary experts can’t fathom that the Packers have a plan, the compensation — a first- and second-round pick in the 2022 draft — and unanticipated cap space allows management to strengthen other areas of the roster.

In the days since the trade, the Packers have: re-signed Rasul Douglas, re-signed Robert Tonyan, and signed free agent defensive lineman Jarran Reed. Before the trade, Green Bay was able to retain All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.

No single player will replace Adams. That’s obvious. But chessmaster Brian Gutekunst now has the ammo to attack the draft whichever way he sees fit.

With four picks in the top 60, it’s conceivable that the Packers could double up on receiver, much like in 2018 when adding cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.

Concern over how Rodgers will gel with a rookie receiver is overblown. Do we so quickly forget 2014 when a rookie Adams — not veterans Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson — was the Packers’ most productive receiver in huge wins over New England and Dallas?

Or how Rodgers’ connected with Cobb for a touchdown in the latter’s first ever game in 2011? Cobb was used sparingly in his rookie season because of the Packers’ deep bench, not because of lack of trust or chemistry with Rodgers.

To be clear, whether the Packers trade for DK Metcalf or draft Chris Olave in the first round, their offense will not be as potent this upcoming September as it was the last several. There will be bumps in the road with whomever Rodgers is throwing to.

But the Packers could be more well-suited to win in January sans Adams.

We just have to endure the sting of goodbye.

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