GREEN BAY, Wis. — It turns out Aaron Rodgers’ return to the Green Bay Packers didn’t mean the same thing for Davante Adams. Just days after Rodgers signed his blockbuster contract extension to return, Adams, his favorite target, left town in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders are sending the Packers their first-round pick (No. 22 overall) and second-round pick (No. 53), sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That gives the Packers have four picks in the top 60; they also own picks Nos. 28 and 59.
Adams is signing a five-year contract averaging $28.5 million per season with Las Vegas, a source said. Rodgers was aware of the developments with Adams, who preferred to play elsewhere rather than return to Green Bay for a contract and pay structure similar to his deal with the Raiders, a source said.
The trade reunites Adams with his college quarterback, Derek Carr, from their days at Fresno State. The Packers had used the franchise tag on Adams last week, but now they’re free from that $20.14 million charge on their salary cap.
However, Green Bay now is in major need at the receiver spot. Two of the receivers in their rotation last year are free agents: deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. The Bears signed St. Brown on Thursday, but now the Packers have cap space to bring back Valdes-Scantling if they choose. They also put the second-round tender on restricted free agent receiver Allen Lazard. Randall Cobb also returned to the Packers but with a massive pay cut from $7.875 to $2.075 million.
At this point, the Packers’ top receivers on their depth chart are Lazard, Cobb, Amari Rodgers and Malik Taylor. But now they have the cap space and draft capital to rebuild the position. They have not drafted a receiver in the first round since 2002, when they picked Javon Walker at No. 20 overall.
Adams was never going to play in the franchise tag and late last season chose his words carefully late last season when discussing the possibility, saying at the time: “I’m not sure how to answer that safely right now. So, we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it. I’ll just say that. I like to be professional on here.”
Adams’ trade to the Raiders ends the most successful quarterback-receiver partnership in Packers’ history. Rodgers and Adams own the Packers’ record for most career touchdowns by a QB-WR combination with 68, breaking Rodgers and Jordy Nelson’s previous mark of 65.
Last summer, Adams made no secret of his desire to be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. The Packers agreed, but the sides could not agree on what defined the highest-paid receiver. Adams and his agent, Frank Bauer, estimate the standard is $27.75 million per year, the average in Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ contract.
However, the Packers view Hopkins’ average as closer to $20 million per year, given that his most recent deal was an extension to his previous contract (five years, $81 million). The added money was $54.5 million over two more years.
So Adams played out the season and had perhaps his best year, setting the single-season franchise record for catches (123) and receiving yards (1,553) last season. He became just the sixth player in NFL history with 120-plus catches, 1,500-plus yards and 11-plus touchdown catches in the same season and is the only player in NFL history with three seasons (2018, 2020-21) of 110- plus catches, 1,350-plus receiving yards and 11-plus receiving TDs.