On the morning of the start of the NFL’s legal tampering window, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams will not play on the franchise tag in 2022 and has notified the team of his decision. Rapoport noted that “this relationship is not in a great place,” in regards to Adams and the Packers front office.
From @GMFB: #Packers star WR Davante Adams has informed the team he won’t play on the franchise tag, and the sides remain far apart on a long-term deal, per sources. It’s all coming to a head. Something has to give. pic.twitter.com/Df0zpvhglM— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2022
This should not come as a surprise, as former NFL receiver Chad Johnson took to Twitter following the Packers’ decision to franchise tag Adams to say, “As a representative for Tae Adams, he will not touch the field unless he resets the market as the highest-paid WR. Period.” Johnson later stated, “Davante Adams has played long enough on a salary that doesn’t match his skill set, let alone the consistency in which he has displayed throughout the years. Hoping the Packers are working diligently to ensure we get what we deserve so I can cry once again.”
It was reported on July 23rd last year that the Green Bay front office had broken off talks of a long-term contract with Adams, who had been vocal about resetting the receiver market following his first All-Pro season. When former Packers receiver James Jones was in Green Bay last summer to visit Packers training camp, the two had the following exchange:
Jones: I’m going to call Russ Ball and tell him $25 mil a year. Is you cool with that?
Adams: That’s it? 25? Look, man, the stage has been set. [DeAndre Hopkins] set the stage, whether or not they want to respect that number or whatever...nah, I’m just playing ball. You’re trying to get me in trouble.
As Acme Packing Company covered in August, where the Packers and Adams seem to be having issues seeing eye-to-eye is the claim of Hopkins’ contract as the new standard for top receivers in the league. For reference, Hopkins’ new deal, averaging $27 million per year, was a two-year extension on top of an already signed contract that featured virtually no new guaranteed money, roughly $20 million. For perspective, Chargers receiver Mike Williams just signed a contract worth $20 million per year, about 25 percent less per year than Hopkins’ extension, on a new contract that saw him net $40 million guaranteed, nearly double what Hopkins got on his extension.
When given the chance to speak about the dispute, general manager Brian Gutekunst said, “With that particular situation, it’s how you interpret what the highest wide receiver in the National Football League is getting paid,” almost certainly speaking on how the Hopkins contract isn’t indicative of where the receiver market was in true “new money” scenarios.
When Adams, set to play a contract season, returned to the Packers after missing some OTAs to spend time with his newborn daughter last summer, he stated the following about a potential holdout situation in 2021: “Yeah, I’ll be here. I signed up to work and play. I’m from East Palo Alto, California. I grew up with zero dollars. I’m not forfeiting any of my money that I’ve earned and signed for already. I’ll be there for sure.”
If we believe what Rapoport and Johnson are stating, something has obviously changed between Adams and the team since July of 2021. Rodgers watch is over. Adams watch has begun. Only time will tell if the receiver, who allegedly bought a house in Las Vegas recently — where his former college teammate Derek Carr quarterbacks the Raiders — will go the Le’Veon Bell route and actually hold out actual games in 2022. It’s worth noting that if Adams is asking for a per-year price of, say, $30 million per year, the Packers would still be paying him less than that number if they were to tag him a second time in 2023, which could be one reason for this frustration.