GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers’ run as perennial Super Bowl contenders could be unraveling before your very eyes.
Not only is quarterback Aaron Rodgers upset with the organization, but now so is receiver Davante Adams.
As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Adams and his agent, Frank Bauer, and the Packers have stopped working toward a long-term contract extension. Adams, coming off a spectacular 2020 season in which he scored 20 touchdowns in 16 games, is entering his final season under contract.
As was the case with Rodgers, an extension for Adams seemed like a no-brainer at the start of the offseason. With the Packers facing major cap problems, Adams’ cap number for 2021 is a lofty $16.8 million. An extension would have been a win-win, with the team securing Adams’ future while getting the immediate benefit of creating cap space. Instead, Rodgers wants out and now Adams isn’t being offered what he thinks he deserves.
Three contracts have set the standard at the position. In terms of average pay, Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins’ two-year contract is worth $27.25 million. In terms of guaranteed money, Tennessee’s Julio Jones’ three-year contract is worth $66 million and includes $64 million guaranteed. He is a distant second in average pay at $22 million. In terms of total dollars, Dallas’ Amari Cooper’s five-year contract is worth $100 million. It is the Hopkins contract that is the sticking point, a source said.
From a team perspective, one problem beyond the Hopkins contract that is far and away the most expensive among receivers might be age. Adams will turn 29 on Christmas Eve. Will Adams remain a prolific, dominating player at, say, age 32?
The source said “of course” when asked if the uncertainty revolving around Rodgers – one of Adams’ closest friends on the team – was part of the issue.
Of course, just because talks have stopped doesn't mean they can't resume today, tomorrow, next week or next month. The drama around Rodgers, however, might be impossible to ignore for Adams, who potentially would be going from a three-time MVP to a first-year starter. Adams has been a team player but receivers like catching footballs.
Veterans are due to report to training camp on Tuesday with the first practice on Wednesday. Adams, who skipped the voluntary OTAs but was present for the three-day minicamp, said he wouldn’t hold out. As is the case with Rodgers, he would be subject to daily fines of $50,000 if he didn’t show up.
“I’ll be here, man. I’ll be here,” Adams said. “I signed up to go to work and play. I’m from East Palo Alto, California, I grew up with $0. I’m not forfeiting any of my money that I’ve earned and signed for already. So, I’ll be there for sure.”
Adams is coming off one of the great seasons in NFL history. He caught 115 passes for 1,374 yards and the 18 touchdowns. He set the team record for receptions and tied Sterling Sharpe’s franchise mark for touchdowns – the third-most in NFL history. And he did it while missing two-plus games due to a hamstring injury.
Adams became the first player with at least 100 receptions and 18 touchdowns in a season. He also became the first player to average eight-plus receptions, 95-plus yards and score 15-plus touchdowns.
Not only did Adams lead the NFL in touchdowns, but he led the NFL with 98.1 receiving yards per game and 8.2 catches per game. Had he not missed the two games, he might have joined Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith (2005) as the only players in the Super Bowl era to win the receiving triple crown of most receptions, yards and touchdowns in a season.