Davante Adams Has Plenty of Incentive to Have a Monster Season

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is coming off a career year in 2020. The former Fresno State star set a new Packers franchise record with 115 catches and led the league with 18 receiving touchdowns despite missing two games due to injury. He earned All Pro honors for the first time in his career and was named to the Pro Bowl roster for the fourth consecutive year.

Adams’ contract is up after the 2021 season and negotiations with the Packers have not been going well. Adams indicated in his first press conference at training camp that he expects to be paid like the best receiver in the NFL, an honor which he legitimately feels he deserves.

The Packers number one receiver is also obviously aware that the team did re-sign their top defensive lineman Kenny Clark, All Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones to long-term deals before they reached free agency. Bakhtiari’s deal made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

Adams told reporters he would not be giving the Packers a home team discount. “That’s not going to happen,” Adams explained. “It’s not about being a baby, but what other profession do you take less than what you have earned? It’s not how it goes. I’ve earned the right to be paid highest in the league. And if they don’t believe that or want to come to that agreement of trying to make me feel good about my contract ...”  

Adams also expressed his disappointment that the Packers have not come up with a better offer in the six months since the Packers lost the NFC Championship Game back in January.

The All Pro wide receiver indicated her preferred not to negotiate during the season adding, “We’ve had a lot of time to figure this thing out and we weren’t really able to make a lot of progress, sadly. Not to get into the details of anything, because it’s a pretty confidential situation, but it’s tough, man. Because the way that this league goes, if you perform well, you’re supposed to get compensated properly for that, and if you underperform, you get cut with no questions asked or however the team decides to do it. Maybe you don’t get cut, but you get reduced (salary), or whatever it is. There’s not a whole lot of back and forth that goes on with that. So, it’s tough when you feel like you’ve contributed a lot.” 

That stance places some pressure on the Packers to get a deal done before the season gets under way on September 12 when the Packers travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints.

If no deal can be finalized before the start of the season, Adams would have even more motivation to have a monster season. Obviously, if Adams wants to get paid as the best receiver in the NFL, he’s going to have to produce like the best receiver in the league. If Adams’ production falls off, he will have less leverage in negotiations.

In addition, this is quite possibly the final season Adams will play with Aaron Rodgers. The reigning NFL MVP has unique chemistry with Adams and the two of them are very capable of communicating at the line of scrimmage with a look, a wink or a nod. They are almost always on the same page when plays break down and the duo needs to improvise.

The fact that this may be Rodgers’ last season with the Packers may cause Adams to hesitate before deciding whether to re-sign with the Packers beyond 2021. Rodgers and Adams both recently posted a photo of themselves posed like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen as they appeared in the poster for the film, “The Last Dance.”

In June, Adams was asked about Rodgers’ ongoing issues with the organization and he said, “I back him and I support him whatever he does. It’s just kind of how we get down. We’ve always had each other’s backs since I first got here."

Adams is 28 now and this will be his biggest opportunity to earn a new contract. If he signs a four or five-year extension now, he will be on the back nine of his career by the time that contract expires. This is Adams’ last chance to sign a huge deal that should make him financially comfortable for the rest of his life.

The investment would be a smart one as Adams is not the type of receiver who relies on elite speed to get open. He should age well as he uses body control, film study and his football intelligence to gain an advantage against defenders trying to cover him. That means the drop off in his performance should not be as drastic as he ages and loses a half step.

Right now, the Packers and Adams are far apart on a deal. But that situation also gives Adams a lot of incentive to have one outstanding season in 2021.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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4 points

Comments (40)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Packer_Fan's picture

July 31, 2021 at 12:05 pm

I think that Adams won't resign unless Rodgers does. There is no incentive for him to do so. So.... you are hearing it first hear.... Rodgers and Adams have to be signed basically as a package.

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Packer_Fan's picture

July 31, 2021 at 12:05 pm

I think that Adams won't resign unless Rodgers does. There is no incentive for him to do so. So.... you are hearing it first hear.... Rodgers and Adams have to be signed basically as a package.

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packer132's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:46 pm

Packers won't resign Adams or Rodgers after this season. They will eat up $80 million, and there are 53 players that need to be paid. The team has already commited $75 million to Bakh, Clark, Jones, and Z Smith. They still need to rework contracts for Alexander, Tonyan, and a couple others. Better win the Super Bowl, as it's the last dance. Packers rebounded from 6-9-1 in 2018 to go 13-3 in 2019 and can do it again.

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packer132's picture

August 01, 2021 at 08:57 am

Adams doesn't care who the quarterback is, as long as he gets his $30 million. I don't like resigning Adams for that money, as good as he is. I think Packers will do it though, and this is the last year with Rodgers. I am hoping for a Super Bowl run this year, as 2022 will have a lot of new faces.

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CoachDino's picture

August 01, 2021 at 02:19 am

The AR and DA being any sort of package is ludicrous. What team could afford to pay both players top dollar? Not many. Of those how many have a need? even fewer.....

The DA issue, which, Nags has done a great job of spelling out, should be included in any legit article/blog/conversation when it comes to DA.

The highest paid receivers last contract avg 22M. Hopkins was given a 2 year extension at 27M per year. Now if that is included in his contract it comes out to around 22M. But on it's own, as just a 2yr extension its 27M.

So in fact the highest paid contract 4 yrs approx would avg around 22-24M. Assumption: That's the packers offer and definition of highest paid WR / contract.

Da Assumption: Figures 27M per year is the highest paid wr as that will be the price on the backend of Hopkins deal and was the extension agreed to. That's a stretch of logic but certainly a negotiation stance tactic worth throwing out there. Just like I have 3 years left but was MVP, so what, it doesn't matter but it can be a PR tactic in negotiations.

Once again IMO, the Packers hold the cards. IF DA doesn't sign before the season he will be underpaid again in 2021. He will risk injury, both to him and AR and some others that could negatively impact his season and standing as #1 wr going into 2022 FA. He is not a young player. the longer he waits the older he gets which impacts the worth calculation. The Packers can also just Franchise him which will give him a raise but not meet what he could of made. That also adds a year to the age factor.

Remember FO's want to pay what you will be worth, not what you were or any make-up for an previous under valued contract.

Solution (possible starting point) Offer a 4 year deal, that pays him 20M in 2021, and escalates to 27M by the last year. Guarantee that money by giving him a huge signing bonus. Hell, If he is given 35-40M up front the interest alone will make up the difference between 24M and 27M per year. IDK the ins and outs of the contracts but the fundamentals seem doable.

Biggest point - Please educate and provide the basic facts so consumers can make their own judgments with the most information possible. Lets not do another AR when his 3 years on the contract, age, franchise tag option, huge signing bonus that he would have to pay back, and cap situation are often side notes and we find so many fans arguing ill informed opinions. That said - I would give CheeseheadTV an A+ when compared to most local and all national media. Heck, a big chunk of my opinions are based on the information they provide. Nags, AL and Gil do a good job of bringing sanity amongst others. on the site. The posters on this site do as well and are IMO second to none.

Question: IS DA's skill set that makes him great suited best for Jordan Love? or is more of a stud athlete that can take it to the house, go up and catch jump balls, turn short passess into big plays? Not that DA can't but he has a certain skill set that sets him apart, route running, beating guys off the line. IDK if thats a stupid question but remember if the Packers dont sign him that's 24M per year to spend on a FA. How about the guy from Chicago that was franchise tagged in 2021 among others? just thoughts for debate.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 31, 2021 at 12:31 pm

The FO cannot in good conscious sign Rodgers to a deal past 2022 as it will look like they accept that Love was and is a total miss. If they have the intent of retaining Rodgers past 2022 they need to promote Love as much as possible this camp and get the feelers out for his value to other teams, like Wash, Miami, Tenn, Houston, Detroit, Minn, because there could be a bigger market for him than thought.

Adams agent should likely be demanding the FO make this decision by season's end, and any talk f a Tag on Adams will result in A) Adams not signing the Tag, B) Pissing off Rodgers, and starting season two of the recent off-season non-comedy rom-com turned horror-show. at least for the fans.

Perhaps Adams agrees to one Tag for the 2022 season if Rodgers is there for that season only and then both can sign together with the same team elsewhere.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:03 pm

If a player is tagged his only options are to play or sit out the year. I seriously doubt that Adams would do that. He wants the money for his future and he has a short window to get it. He would be very unlikely to make the money lost up over his career. He might be pissed off, but he has limited options. The Packers might elect to tag and trade him rather than rely on a compensatory pick.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:28 pm

Yes, and why so much for Adams is based on whether Rodgers is there in 2022 and the one-year Tag agreement will set both free afterward.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2021 at 06:02 pm

I don’t think Adams is asking more because of Rodgers, it’s because this is his big pay day.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:53 pm

"and then both can sign together with the same team elsewhere."

How many, if any, teams would be able to afford both? That would be one hell of a hit to their salary cap.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 31, 2021 at 02:20 pm

I didn't mean it would literally happen, but more as a fairy-tale ending. SMH.

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CoachDino's picture

August 01, 2021 at 02:36 am

"The FO cannot in good conscious sign Rodgers to a deal past 2022 as it will look like they accept that Love was and is a total miss"
Wow, do you really think that that has any, even the smallest degree of weight in making the decision? Look to the facts not the noise.

1st - Its already been paying dividends. IMO forced AR to get in tune with the scheme and strategic direction in 2020. Gave them a Plan B, as weak or strong as deemed, when AR threatened to leave. It wouldn't of been on the timeline desired to maximize the pick but better than 90% of the other teams that have no long term development QB succession plan on the roster. Have you looked at the cap situation? Anyone who thinks the roster is the issue in Why AR hasn't won a SB will need to concede that if AR is resigned at Top dollar the roster would be decimated, it will already take a hit in 2022 as is. So signing AR long term isn't really an viable option for becoming a contender down the road. You will become Atlanta...

Adams and Rodgers are mutually exclusive.

PS Keeping Rodgers for 2022 will negate any chance for obtaining assets in a trade. He will be a FA in 2023 and can not be franchise tagged. The facts all point to 2021 being his last year. So keep in mind when evaluating the trade of Rodgers and not keeping and extending, when he has another good season or 2 after he leaves. They hadn't and weren't going to win with him. So it was the right thing to do no matter what Love does.

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stockholder's picture

August 01, 2021 at 07:01 am

You Keep Rodgers. AS long as he can go it. His receivers were never a draft priority. The defense has never been capable. They invested to much into the secondary now. Thats where the money must go.

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pack69go's picture

August 01, 2021 at 09:47 am

My prediction, trade Rodgers and tag and trade Adams in March/ 22.
with the cap and the young players coming up needing extensions, (alexander/Jenkins in 22 then Savage/Gary n 23) in addition to other younger guys lie Tonyon/scantling and others. I think we are in for a lot of turnover in personnel. You can't pay everyone. I think this is the last dance for some of our top players.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 31, 2021 at 12:50 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again. NO player who touches the ball maybe 8-10 times a game is worth blowing up your salary cap. Any smart GM should be aware of that, but someone will offer him crazy money. The AR12/DA17 combo hasn't even made it to a SB, much less won it. You really want to pay these two a combined 60+ million a year?

It's been fun watching them the past 7 years and I wish them well, but I really believe they have priced them themselves out of GB. It was a fun ride while it lasted.

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Since'61's picture

July 31, 2021 at 02:15 pm

13Times, not only Rodgers and Adams but also Bak, the Smiths, Turner and maybe a few others. The original plan was to win another SB by 2022 at the latest based on the cap hits to Rodgers contract. That has been moved up
by a year because the Packers need to know if Love can play by the end of 2022. They can’t afford to go into Love’s 4th season without knowing if he can play effectively.

Plus the current cap situation is unsustainable. Even Jones will never see the last 2 seasons of his current contract.

By 2022/23 the core of the team will be Clark, Gary, Alexander and Savage on defense. And Jenkins, Myers(?), Amari Rodgers, Tonyan and Dillon on offense. Maybe Runyon and another of the new OLs. Lazard if he’s still here.

2021 will be the last dance for more players than just Rodgers and Adams. Be well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Todd's picture

August 01, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Exactly 61. Too many good players, not enough money to go around. As much as some people are going to lose their minds about it, there's inevitably going to be some big name player movement next offseason, and it won't necessarily have to do with the Front Office making good or bad decisions.

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Todd's picture

August 01, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Agree. Hard to pay WRs that much, even as good as Adams is, especially when you've paid others already too.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2021 at 12:53 pm

I do not see a deal being done before the start of the season even if both sides want it. No cap now and -50 million next and a dispute over what the top receiver pay rate is, based upon a recent extension. I will leave others to comment on whether the team should retain him based upon recent developments. Adams has done nothing wrong, but external factors have made things less certain.

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jhtobias's picture

July 31, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Adams like any Employee deserves to get the most money he can .. He has been a model of excellence , a great human being and role model for his 8 years in Green Bay .. I hope they can figure out a way to keep him, but anyone who want's to disparage Davonte if he leaves via Free Agency because he can get paid what he feels he deserves needs to stop disparaging the man.

It is up to the team to make sure he is happy with is compensation, not for him to make the team or fans to make sure they are happy for what he is being offered .

This is not 1990 anymore, and if the team values his service going forward they will figure it out . If not Mr. Adams you have been a pleasure to watch while most of the dolts on this site called for your heard your first two to three years ..

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Bear's picture

July 31, 2021 at 04:28 pm

2020 Regular Season With 149 Targets

Using average yards per catch of each player during 2020 regular season.

Adams: targets 149. Receptions 115. Catch rate 77.1% Yards 1374.

Lazard: targets 149. Receptions 106. Catch rate 71.7%. Yards 1472.

MVS: targets 149. Receptions 78. Catch rate 52.3% Yards 1630.

MVS & Lazard would look pretty good if they had the same amount of targets Adams had in 2020.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 01, 2021 at 05:58 pm

“ MVS & Lazard would look pretty good if they had the same amount of targets Adams had in 2020.” Yes they would if they could get open as often as Adams. His ability to be open and trusted is why he is considered one of the best WR’s in the league. Of course there are advantages that the other receivers bring but Adams is clearly the superior player.

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Oppy's picture

July 31, 2021 at 05:54 pm

I would love for Adams to remain a Packer. However, I don't think it's likely to happen because I don't think the Packers can afford to make him the top paid WR in the league, which is exactly what Davante has stated is the only contract he will accept.

I wish him the best and hope he finds a team that will fulfill his contract requirements.

That being said, I'm not fond of the man publicly complaining about it and casting the Packers in a negative light because they aren't willing to commit to a contract that is not in the team's best interests. It's a salary capped league and the cap has been reduced for the first time, ever. It has also been made clear the cap will not balloon back to its previous state in a single season. This is a matter of the Packers' hands being tied, not a ploy to disrespect and under-value one of their premier players.

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Todd's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:42 pm

Obviously a different salary cap story if Rodgers leaves, however, how do you fit Adams and an almost likely $20+M salary within the cap, when you already paid several other players (e.g., Bakhtiari, Clark, Jones) and have several more coming due (Alexander and Jenkins) in the next two years? Really would like to see Adams stay, but there’s going to be some interesting (and tough) front office player personnel decisions the next few years.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:43 pm

I would like to get rid of Rodgers in February. Perhaps Turner, Z, P, as well. I would like to franchise and trade Adams. I do not think paying a 30 year old WR whose game is explosion top of the market sums is wise. I wish him a great year, and a record breaking contract.

Just give me the 1st round pick for him on his way out the door. Thanks for everything, Davante.

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Since'61's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:59 pm

Bearmeat, I think that is how it will likely play out. Bak will likely be moved out as well. He took a huge pay cut due to his injury for 2021. I don’t know what Bak is scheduled to make in 2022 but it’s much more than he will make in 2021.

The Packers will be unlikely to keep an OT with an injury history and another year older for $20 million per year.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Bear's picture

July 31, 2021 at 03:21 pm

If you check over the cap site, cutting Rodgers in February would still be in the 2021 cap year. That would be a cap hit of 52,820,706. The new cap year (2022) doesn’t go into affect until 2022 season starts.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2021 at 06:07 pm

It was March 17 this year. I expect it is similar date next year.

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HawkPacker's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:47 pm

I do not believe Adams will sign a new contract this year or that he wants to sign one. He realizes that Rodgers will probably be here only one more year and I believe he wants to wait until next year and see what happens to AR.

In looking ahead and know what the CAP looks like the next couple years, I would think that both AR and Adams will be traded. It just makes sense based on the timing of both contracts and CAP.

The other option is to sign them both to extensions and possibly Rodgers will allow his salary to be reduced ala Tom Brady. Remember, we need to extend our cornerback JA as well and there is only so much money to go around.

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Since'61's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:51 pm

I expect that Adams will have another great season in 2021. However with Cobb back on the team, Tonyan evolving into
A solid target and Amari Rodgers and Aaron Jones getting their touches, Adams number of receptions will probably decline. Another factor is that the Packers will probably run the ball more in 2021 than they did in 2020.

If I were MLF I would be using Adams as a decoy to get Cobb, Amari Rodgers or Lazard open against certain defenses and in certain down and distance situations. Or clear out space to get Aaron Jones open underneath.

There should be much more that we can do with this offense now that we have another 1 or 2 receivers who can actually catch the ball.

Clearly Adams and his agent now know the Packers position. That is not likely to change significantly. If he gets less targets and therefore less receptions that will another bargaining chip for the Packers against Adams demands.
IMO the Packers should trade Adams before FA begins or they will end up with nothing in return for one of the league’s best WRs. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Coldworld's picture

August 01, 2021 at 07:26 am

Only way they can do that is to tag him really. At 50 million over that probably means Rodgers is already gone.

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blacke00's picture

August 01, 2021 at 07:52 am

I don't agree '61. They should not trade DA before FA starts, who would trade their best WR during a SB run? No one. Unless, of course the whole team falls apart( for many varied reasons). Assuming DA has another Monster year, let him go to free agency. He's at the tail end of his career. let another team take the SC hit.

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Since'61's picture

August 01, 2021 at 10:47 am

My point was to trade him between the end of the season and the beginning of FA activity. That would be better than losing him with no return via FA. Thanks, Since '61

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blacke00's picture

August 01, 2021 at 07:52 am

I don't agree '61. They should not trade DA before FA starts, who would trade their best WR during a SB run? No one. Unless, of course the whole team falls apart( for many varied reasons). Assuming DA has another Monster year, let him go to free agency. He's at the tail end of his career. let another team take the SC hit.

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Esquetoi's picture

July 31, 2021 at 01:53 pm

..."...but what other profession..." ahem 17 and 12. Ahem...Your profession has long ago left that comparison behind. You're both basically clueless.

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Oppy's picture

July 31, 2021 at 02:33 pm

The Packers should have a public forum where they list all the players, and their contracts, for 2022 and the near future. They should show Davanate the realities of the salary cap, again, in the public forum.

Then, Davante Adams should tell the Packers, publicly, the exact players that should be cut or should be asked to take pay cuts to make his contract as the top paid WR in the league possible.

All done publicly.

I'm starting to get the feeling a lot of these pro athletes don't understand that for them to get paid more and more money in a salary capped league, demands that others get paid less and less.

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stockholder's picture

July 31, 2021 at 03:02 pm

The franchise tag fits him to a tee. The packers have dealt with a Jennings and Brooks before. They also got into a bad trade for John Jefferson. I just don't see the long term value if Rodgers leaves.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

July 31, 2021 at 05:41 pm

Third contracts are often the worst value-to-salary ones in the NFL - mainly due to the faulty assumption that aging players will continue to produce as if in their prime. These contracts are also reflective of the NFL's imbalanced economic system - that underpays players at the beginning of their careers - while overpaying them towards the end. Probably this is why Packers management - to their credit - have avoided 3rd contracts. For this reason, I do not foresee Adams returning next year.

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Stroh's picture

August 01, 2021 at 12:55 pm

In a very general sense that would be true. But it largely depends on position. WR aren't subjected to alot of punishment, like a RB. A WR can become ineffective late 20s or 30 if he relies on speed or as in Cobbs case due to injuries. However Adams has never relied on speed nor has he been injured much. Adams should age really well and IMO will remain highly productive. He could have a long career in the way Larry Fitzgerald has had. He's only 28 so IMO another 3 or 4 yr contract should be the goal.

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Stroh's picture

August 01, 2021 at 12:41 pm

So the issue is Adams sees Hopkins 2 yr 54M and wants that for a new contract in the 27M per yr range. However Hopkins had that added to an existing contract which made his average in the 20-22M range, which is still among the best in the NFL for a WR. Adams would be the highest pd WR at 23 M per, but he sees the 2yr 54 M and thinks that is highest pd (even tho it's an extension to an existing contract. No way he'll see 27+M per even in FA. But to become highest pd is in the 23M range. Which I'm sure is the Packers number.

Getting Adams signed has almost NOTHING to do with Rodgers, it's onky about the annual average salary and structure.

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