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Packers' Davante Adams Earns the Endorsement of Aaron Rodgers

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Packers' Davante Adams Earns the Endorsement of Aaron Rodgers

After watching his absurd and spontaneous production the last two seasons, it wouldn't be crazy to think that general managers across the league are salivating at the possibility that their franchise could land Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams this offseason.

Adams, 24, is in the final year of the rookie deal he signed when he was drafted by the Packers in the second round (53rd overall) in 2014. His ascendance in route mechanics, burst off the line and suddenly natural leadership ability has been evident since the start of last season.

His rise to prominence has been well-documented, and even the most significant of spectators have been hinting at wanting to keep Adams in Green Bay in 2018 and on.

Take it from Aaron Rodgers.

"He's making a lot of money this year," said the Packers' starting quarterback, who is returning to his first live game action this Sunday since injuring his collarbone two months ago. "Hopefully we pay him sooner rather than later. He's a talented guy who's just proving it week after week, he's tough to guard."

Adams is estimated to earn an average annual salary of $11.5 million per year, according to Spotrac, which may or may not be too much for a team already paying over $10 million for two other receivers. 

While Rodgers has been sidelined, there's evidently been a shift in the Packers' No. 1 wide receiver leaderboard. Jordy Nelson, whose chemistry with Rodgers is virtually impossible to be emulated, has seen a drastic decrease in production with backup quarterback Brett Hundley at the controls.

Nelson was averaging seven catches per game with Rodgers, and only 5.57 with Hundley. While not much of a steep drop-off, Nelson's six touchdowns this season all came within the Packers' first five games -- not recording a single touchdown reception in Hundley's seven starts. He also averaged just 7.92 yards per reception.

Adams, meanwhile, thrived with or without Rodgers. He averaged 8.7 targets per game with Hundley and caught four touchdowns in those aforementioned seven starts, not including the touchdown he tallied in Minnesota after Rodgers got hurt. For a good while, it seemed as if Adams and Hundley were forming their own on-field connection.

With or without Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams (17) has helped keep the Packers' stagnant offense afloat with innate route running ability. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

One of his more impressive performances came against the Baltimore Ravens last month -- in a shutout, no less. 

Working on Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, who is widely regarded as one of the top players at his position, Adams recorded a season-high 126 receiving yards and caught eight of his 10 targets. It was the third-highest receiving total of his career.

"What he did against Baltimore, I thought, was the most impressive, because [Jimmy] Smith is a fantastic corner," said Rodgers, who had a front-row seat to the action. "But he's done it every single week and made plays. The most encouraging thing as I've sat back and watched is his leadership, that's started to grow."

The Packers may very well want to avoid sparing much expense when it comes to keeping Adams in town. It'll be one of the more important decisions made by the Packers this offseason, next to an extension for Rodgers.

Like the second-round receivers to be drafted to Green Bay and exceed expectations before him, Adams may need to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards before any conclusions are made regarding finances. He came just three yards short (997) in 2016, despite his 12 touchdowns.

The Packers didn't sign Greg Jennings to a contract extension until prior to his fourth season, and his was worth $9 million per year for three years. He was coming off of his own first 1,000-yard season at the time, which was also his first season with Rodgers as the full-time starting quarterback.

Nelson was issued a three-year extension in the middle of his fourth campaign. His was more of a steal since he had yet to even pass 600 receiving yards in his young career. During that 2011 season, however, Nelson would finish with 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns, team-highs in both categories.

It took a monster year from Randall Cobb for him to cash in big, earning a contract that is still critiqued almost three years later. Only, the Packers didn't extend him during his contract; they allowed Cobb to test free agency before bringing him back on a four-year, $40 million deal in the spring of 2015. 

If Adams follows suit, he could earn a new contract sometime between now and the offseason, but the Packers may want to tackle that sooner rather than later, like Rodgers said. The better Adams performs down the stretch, the more that price tag is going to grow and become almost impossible for general manager Ted Thompson to even bat an eye at.

Adams as 172 yards to go until he breaks 1,000 for the first time in his career, and he has three games in order to accumulate such a total. It took both Nelson and Cobb until their fourth seasons to break 1,000 yards for the first time as well, so Adams' situation isn't an indictment on his talent, or lack thereof. It's more so just a prime example that hidden talent takes time to unravel.

In the last two seasons, only Adams and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown -- considered by many to not only be the best in the business, but in the MVP conversation as well -- have recorded over 65 catches and over nine touchdowns. A testament to the vast strides Adams has taken to achieve the next level of his game.

"It's tough to guard him one-on-one and teams want to bring five-man pressure to keep myself -- or [Brett] when he was out there -- in the pocket. You get some one-on-one match-ups on the outside, and he's done it to a lot of the best corners in this game."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Nick Perry's picture

Adams has easily proven to be the best TT draft pick since and including 2014's draft and IMO it's not even close, at least at this point it's not. Adams should have been signed to a deal before this season when his price tag would have been lower. Now he'll command top dollar and it's just going to keep rising.

I said it earlier in the week I didn't understand why Adams hasn't been signed. He's proven to be the best WR the Packers have on the roster this year after having a nice year last season when he was healthy for the first time. Adams can beat any CB off the line now with either his quickness and/or strength and create separation and now he's become one of the more precise route runners in the NFL.

If Adams was to walk it would be one of Thompson's biggest blunders yet. It's bad enough he's allowed the WR position to become a need in 2018's draft while having the best QB on the planet, something that just shouldn't happen with a QB like Rodgers still playing like he is AND is the only reason the Packers are considered a top team when he's healthy. If Adams gets away what then? WHO in the the hell is going to be lined up with the best QB on the planet? The BEST thing the Packers could do is get Adams signed, keep Nelson, and worry about what to do with Cobb later. Just don't let Adams get away. NO WAY!

Bearmeat's picture

It takes two to tango. After last year, if I'm Adams, I'm betting on myself and taking the risk of injury.

I'd be shocked if TT hasn't already offered him something in the 9 mil AAV for 3-4 years range. I also wouldn't blame Adams 1 bit for insisting on 13 AAV for 5-6 years.

They'll meet at 10-11 mil for 4 years I'd bet. And Cobb will be cut. Yawn.

RCPackerFan's picture

In all honesty, why would Adams resign now? Only a few months from free agency, he'd be stupid to not wait.

I am guessing this will get done right before free agency starts.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I will die of shock if Adams is not resigned, he's got potentially a decade of football left. Even if it takes forcing Nelson into a paycut-extension or just releasing Cobb and trying to resign him at an equitable rate.

dobber's picture

In the end, TT always seems to get the home-grown players he wants to stick for a second contract. I would be surprised if Adams isn't in GB next fall.

Lphill's picture

He will get paid but unfortunately I see the end for Cobb who still has a lot of years ahead of him , I could see the Patriots picking him up he seems like the type of slot receiver Brady likes.

Nick Perry's picture

I agree 100% with your thoughts on Cobb. He's EXACTLY the type of receiver BB and Brady love. He's got excellent hands is always among the leaders in the NFL in catch percentage since he doesn't drop the ball. I love Cobb, love what he did last season in the playoffs but he's just never really come close to the production he had in 2014. I'd like to see them renegotiate Cobb's contract but I seriously doubt that will happen.

The TKstinator's picture

I don’t want anybody’s aforementioned hidden talent to unravel.

Johnblood27's picture

1000 thumbs up!

fthisJack's picture

and to think that after he had that injury plagued year, there were how many on here clamoring for his release. you know who you are!

Nick Perry's picture

And to think some STILL think he should go!

The TKstinator's picture

And long after he’s gone, we’ll all wonder where he’s been.

dobber's picture

Those people would not say that they think he should go, just that the Packers shouldn't pay him anywhere close to market value to keep him....which will, of course, lead him to leave.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Adams' pace with:
AaronR: 912 yds; 124.8 targets, 73.6 recs (58.97%)
BrettH: 1086 yds, 142 targets, 92 recs (64.79%)
Overall: 1019 yds; 135.4 targets, 84.9 recs (62.7%)

Nelson's pace with:
AR: 928 yds; 121.6 targets, 80 recs, (65.79%)
BH: 349.7 yds; 89.14 targets, 50.29 rec (56.4%)
Total: 590.67 yds, 114.67 targets, 62.67 rec (61%)

Bearing in mind that AR will be our QB, Dobber, what is Adams worth?

I am hearing $11.5M to $13M AAV. He is the best WR in FA, so that probably is what some team will offer. If you want Adams locked up, probably have to pay him literally 3 to 3.5 times his weight in gold (based on spot price 12-12-17 of $40,140/kilogram, assumes 205 pounds).

Some now write that Nelson isn't worth the $10.25M he is scheduled to earn in 2018. Looks to me like if AR is the QB, Nelson and Adams are worth about the same if we are talking about a one year deal. I'll watch the last 3 games plus I hope some playoff games to make that judgment.

I think Adams is worth $11M AAV. I think we'll have to pay whatever the market is, because like Perry, we have little choice. I think Alshon Jeffrey at $13M represents a ceiling (though Jeffrey's contract structure is also absolutely a nightmare).

dobber's picture

"Bearing in mind that AR will be our QB, Dobber, what is Adams worth?"

I've been careful not to throw out $$ because I just don't have that knowledge base. At this point, the Packers need to have a full supply of pass-catchers for #12. Adams is either a #1 or higher tier #2 WR in comparison to others in the league. If they allow the quality and number of players there to decline too much, they're tying their hands behind their backs for next season.

What I will say is this: some people here talk about letting #17 walk, and that he's not worth the money. That the Packers should ride with Cobb and Nelson and the other generally below-average WR on the roster, get a draft pick, and draft another size-speed prospect early in 2018. But there's a fundamental problem with that: WRs don't always develop quickly, and it might take 2-3 years for a replacement to bloom...if he does at all. Not only that, but you increase the burden on the upcoming draft. What if Cobb or Nelson have another long-term injury. How many years does #12 have left? They could go sign someone off the street for the value some people seeing #17 having, but he's not likely to be a 1000 yard, 10 TD know, like the one they'd be letting go. Keeping the offense playing at a high level all but demands that they sign Adams...and I think it will happen. The parties involved, not us, will determine what that takes.

stockholder's picture

Later- Not worth the Money. You have Cobb signed. You have Nelson signed. Both are better route runners. You don't let Cobb go to New England. That's just stupid! You guys bitch about this teams defense. Capers etc. A team without A-Rod has failed in your eyes. Why do you over pay Adams, when the team is not what you expect? The Adams propaganda is just that. Add it up! You don't over-pay any WR . If it's not team friendly you take the draft pick. Let common sense prevail. NOT stupidity.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It grieves the cheap, cap conscious part of me, but I don't see an alternative to paying whatever it takes to retain Adams. Hard for me to see a guy who has yet to break 1,000 yards getting $13M, if that's his FMV, so be it.

[I wrote similar comments when it was time to re-sign Cobb and Perry, so I am not looking for surplus value to come out of re-signing Adams; I just hope we get something close to what the cost is.]

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agree Dobber. With Cobb being rather meh, and Nelson talking retirement, have to pay what it takes for Adams. We can't expect one draft to fill our needs at CB, OLB and WR, though we can hope, and WR seem to take a while to develop in GB.

Thanks for the response.

stockholder's picture

Why do you think TT will spend a #1 on CB or OLB? Not happening. I say DT, WR, How can we Bet.?

dobber's picture

"You don't let Cobb go to New England."

If the Packers don't want him, I think New England wouldn't be a terrible place for him to go...after all, not in the NFC (and especially not in the NFC North) means they likely only have to see him every couple years based on the quirks of NFL scheduling, and then maybe in the SB. Out of sight, out of mind.

Besides, if the cap situation is so dire that they've got to cut a Cobb loose, where he goes is the least of your worries. I don't think you keep him despite cap issues just because you're trying to play keepaway from some monkey in the middle in a hoodie.

Savage57's picture

The reality is most people just wanted him to up his game, perhaps get a little time watching to reinforce the idea you play hard every play no matter how things are going for you. He'd probably admit he needed to grow up a bit and learn how to work through a tough season.

A jacked up ankle or knee has nothing to do with consistently dropping catchable balls.

JDK52's picture

You have a lot of experience doing physically demanding tasks while in pain, then?

Regardless of your answer, yes it absolutely does matter that he was injured while dropping catchable balls. It takes intense focus and great technique to catch a ball at game speed, and having to do that with constant pain which only intensifies when he leaps?

The only thing his 2nd year proved was just how incredibly difficult it is to play WR while hurt.

RCPackerFan's picture

Adams has emerged as a number 1 WR. This year he has taken a huge step this season. Adams is a perfect example of the draft and develop philosophy and why you have to give guys time to develop. So many people wanted Adams gone after his 2nd season.

What will be interesting to see is how Adams production will be with Rodgers coming back. Nelson, Cobb, Kendricks, Allison will all be happy to have Rodgers back as he will spread the ball more and give these guys more opportunities. We know others will get more involved now, but Adams needs to get the ball as he has become their greatest play maker.

Bearmeat's picture

Do you know what all those guys have in common except Adams? None of them can get open without ARod throwing them open. The Packers WRs are average to "meh" except for Adams.

Our WR corps is in desperate need of someone who can self start a play outside of Adams. Preferably an outside WR with speed.

RCPackerFan's picture

Adams can consistently get open himself.
The other WR's do get open but not consistently. But Adams is the one that consistently gets open. Also the definition of open needs to be defined.
The problem with Hundley was he needed a WR to be 3-4 yards open. Rodgers needs 1 yard. Rodgers can throw guys open where Hundley couldn't anticipate them to get open. Also Hundley's timing of the plays wasn't good enough. When he needs to do a 3 step drop and throw it, he would a lot of times hesitate, which then means the DB catches up.

During the stretch with Rodgers, Cobb and Nelson were having really good seasons statistically. Then he got hurt and they fell off the map. Its easy to look at their numbers and say they weren't productive. Well they weren't because of who was throwing to them. Hundley was getting better but

I personally wish they would get Clark playing because his size makes him open every play. He can simply out leap everyone. Plus he does have good speed to get down field.

I agree they need to upgrade the speed at WR. Size and speed would be great.

dobber's picture

The issue with #7 is that he doesn't make it through his progressions and he doesn't trust what he sees. How many times have we watched him sitting in the pocket with an open receiver right in front of him, pass that receiver over, then bolt the pocket due to 'pressure'? The commentators love to show that.

As for Clark: for him to be active on game day, they'd either have to leave Allison inactive (since Davis and Janis have defined and necessary special teams roles) or have 7 WR active. That seems a little much. One could argue that they could ask Cobb to return punts and sit Davis to make Clark active. Either way, I wonder if they bumped up Clark to the 53 because someone was sniffing around him? I just don't see a role for him that will allow him to be active on game days on the 2017 roster.

Bearmeat's picture

No. His big year is maybe 2017. But more likely it's 2018 considering how little football he's played. The definition of a deeeep developmental HWS guy. If Clark would have proven he could play at a high level in college, with his measurables, he would have been a top 5 pick.

RCPackerFan's picture

Exactly right. Hundley missed wide open WR's, and his timing was off that when he had windows to throw he didn't let it go. The Saints game, Nelson wide open for a TD.
I will say though he improved a lot form then though.

I don't think Clark will get activated, I just want him to. He has such a unique skill that I think he could play.

With Davis' electric PR he won't see the bench any time soon. Janis is to valuable as a gunner.
I heard someone was trying to sign him, thats why they brought him up.

Spock's picture

RC, See my comment on Michelle's article about Rodgers having spent recent time throwing to Clark while running the scout team and maybe using Clark in the red zone to take advantage of his size and athleticism.

RCPackerFan's picture

Spock -

"One interesting comment on another site that RC might enjoy is that Rodgers has been throwing to Michael Clark while on the scout team. Wouldn't it be fun to see a Rodgers to Clark (put in for that one play) throw on one play in the red zone to take advantage of Clark's 6'-6" height and leaping ability?"

I copied this over. I didn't see it before.

I completely agree with this. They had the big guy with Bennett, now they no longer have that. With Rodgers working with Clark, perhaps they would consider activating him for that reason.

Perhaps they didn't feel Hundley could make that throw so they didn't activate Clark. Knowing Rodgers can, maybe they will now.

That is another way that Clark may play. They had all the WR's activated and 3 TE's. Basically Clark would take that TE spot, but as a WR.
I don't expect it, but it would be interesting if they would.

Spock's picture

RC, I don't expect it either but the thought that Bennett's height was gone is EXACTLY why I thought it was an interesting consideration. Again, doubt it will happen.

cuervo's picture

Agreed....and our offense isn't designed to offer schemes that assist those same recievers to get open with any kind of regularity. Fortunately #12 covers up this fault.

Houndog's picture

Surprised anyone? This extension should have happened months ago.
If the Packers fail to get Adams signed to a long term deal just add it to the long list of failures by one Theodore Thompson.
How much longer is the B.O.D. going to allow Murphy to let this continue?

dobber's picture

It has shades of Jonathan Villar, only in this case Adams stands to win big.

We can get after TT for this, but that only assumes that Adams was really interested in signing. If they fail to get Adams signed, it might be because Adams just didn't want to. FA allows players to do that.

Since '61's picture

I hope that the Packers have already made an offer to Adams or will do so soon. It's possible that an offer has been made and Adams or his agent want to wait and see what offers may come from free agency. If that is the case the Packers may get outbid as some team is always desperate enough to overpay the "fair" value for a player (e.g., Jacksonville for House).

In this case Adams has plenty of upside remaining so the Packers should keep as many weapons for Rodgers as possible. With the cap expected to increase again this season it may be possible for the Packers to keep the WR corp intact and pay Adams as well.

I would like to see the Packers sign Adams and draft a game break WR that can run patterns and has good hands. Combined with Adams and a "real" TE Rodgers the passing game would be set for a while.

As we all know, with TT it's difficult to know what to expect.

Thanks, Since '61

cuervo's picture

I can't see them having over 30 million $$ invested in their receiving corps by signing Adams and keeping Cobb and Nelson at their current contracts...but I guess stranger things have happened. TT does have a history of paying players for their past performance and fulfilling their entire contract.

dobber's picture

In the end, both Nelson's and Cobb's contracts end after 2018. The disproportionate allocation to WR would be only one year. In the end, it's only a problem if it prevents them from doing something else.

Both Cobb and Nelson know that the Packers can't leave the cupboard bare for #12, and the Packers will likely want to renegotiate...get a couple more years for guaranteed money but a lower overall cap number. That might work for Nelson who's near the end and isn't likely to command as much money on the market, but I'd bet Cobb's agent will tell him not to and to force the Packers' hand. Extending by a year or two and giving away two prime years in Cobb's case sounds like a bad plan when he could hit the market and potentially do much better after 2018.

Since '61's picture

Cuervo - appreciate the feedback. Like others I'm expecting Cobb to be the odd man out. If we keep Adams and Jordy we can move Monty into Cobb's role. We should still draft a game beaker type of WR. That leaves us with TE to still be resolved as usual. Is there a TE worth a high draft pick this year? I don't know. If not we're probably need to sign another veteran TE even if we keep Kendricks.

While I agree with you that I can't see spending $ 30 MM on the WR corps we will at least spend $20+ on Jordy and Adams alone. Add in Allison and a high draft WR we're probably at 25+.

Rodgers may have a say in who is kept/signed as well.

For now, I'll take a win over the Panthers. Thanks, Since '61

pacman's picture

For all my complaining about MM, the one thing he did do right is stick with Adams and Crosby. Too bad he is also sticking with DC, as he stuck with Slocum too long. Adams and Crosby 'fixed' things in one year though. Defense has been going downhill for a while.

I'm really wondering what kind of game plan we are going to see with AR back. If the rule is (and should be) that AR must get the ball out quickly so not to risk getting hit, we might still see a lot of short passes and he will likely spread the ball around quite a bit. But I'm guessing that one of the first plays will be a statement rollout deep throw.

dobber's picture

"But I'm guessing that one of the first plays will be a statement rollout deep throw."

I don't expect them to pound #30 on two straight runs, then throw, on the first drive.

Fordham Ram's picture

I'm sure teams noticed how good Adams was inspite of having the dreadful Hundley as quarterback. It could be argued that a WR is only as good as the QB on the team. In Cobb's and Nelson's case one could say that. Look at the drop off. Along with the true grit he demonstrated after taking that vicious hit and coming back the next game then piling on the yardage with Hundley I think Ted will need to back up the truck to keep this guy. Will MR. skin flint Ted do it and overpay because I forsee a bidding war for Devante's services especially if he goes over a 1000.

Ustabeayooper's picture

No way does Adams get to FA. The pack can always franchise him for 2018 while negotiating a new contract. After 2018 Cobb and Nelson contracts are up.The new salary cap is 178 mil.for 2018. There should be enough wiggle room to get the job done. The real issue is redoing Rodgers contract. He is obviously underpaid and the sooner this gets done the better!

stockholder's picture

This might be the smartest answer I've seen on the internet.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

WR transition tag in 2017 = $13.3M.
WR franchise tag in 2018 = $15.68M.

Neither is appealing.

stockholder's picture

Right, but that is the market you guys set calling Adams a #1. Cost wise, it's cheaper to keep Nelson and Cobb without the pay cut. And the numbers you just threw out do not justify PAY Cuts. Their in the same boat as Perry. But we had no one behind Perry. Nelson and Cobb are signed. Is it worth the extra money to see what this team can do#1? #2 Arron Rodgers new contract coming? #3 The draft picks coming at WR. ? #4 Can Adams stay off the IR. And end any Questions about him. My feeling is TT would rather pay a CB than WR. And the biggest example everyone forgets is this. Nelson and Cobb were signed to win a super-bowl. They stayed because of it. It didn't produce the results. Adams won't either!

dobber's picture

I'm just not going to read your posts that have the word Adams in them anymore. You're just off your meds or something.

"Nelson and Cobb were signed to win a super-bowl. They stayed because of it. It didn't produce the results."

Yeah, that Jordy Nelson...those 1350 yards and 12 TDs he's averaged over his last 3 full seasons (one after blowing his knee), and those 6 TDs he scored with #12 at QB earlier in the year. Freeloader.

stockholder's picture

Not on any meds. Superbowl ! Superbowl were the expectations and results! Not stats.

dobber's picture

Because the full cap hit is way to spread it out?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yes, mostly. With generally rising team cap limits, it makes sense to have a newly signed player's cap hit rise progressively over the course of the contract. Looking at our cap space for 2018 and our FAs, I've always assumed a cap hit of $5M to $6M for Adams for 2018. Lots harder to re-sign Linsley, Burnett and some others, and bring in some help if Adams is taking 9 or 10% of the cap on a franchise tag.

The other reason is I think it can generate bad blood, and generally lowers the goodwill players have towards GB. Not sure how big an issue this is.

stockholder's picture

Your Quote: Hard for me to see a guy who has yet to break 1,000 yards getting $13M, if that's his FMV, so be it. (Franchise Money? ) TT won't pay this. He didn't pay James Jones. He won't pay Adams. You have the best QB in the National Football league. Like I said, he has Nelson and Cobb. Consider those that left that A-Rod threw to. And those who TT might get. TT replaced Jones, and he can replace Adams.

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