In 2010, the Green Bay Packers used the franchise tag on defensive tackle Ryan Pickett. The Packers assigned him the tag on February 24th of that year in the hopes of coming to an agreement with him on a long-term contract. Just 16 days later, on March 12th, Pickett signed a new four-year deal and avoided playing on the tag.
Today, for the first time since that situation 12 years ago, the Packers once again used the franchise tag. This time it is for wide receiver Davante Adams, whose previous contract is set to expire when the 2022 league year begins on March 16. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel first reported the news.
As was the case with Pickett, the Packers are hoping to sign Adams to a long-term contract, something that seems more plausible now that Aaron Rodgers is reportedly planning to sign an extension of his own. If the two sides do not come to an agreement prior to March 16, the Packers will be on the hook for a salary cap hit of just over $20 million, the tag amount for Adams.
Although the base franchise tag number for wide receivers is $18.4 million, Adams’ number is higher because of his substantial cap hit in 2021. A tagged player would receive either the positional number for the year or 120% of his prior year’s cap hit, whichever is greater. Because Adams’ cap hit was approximately $16.8 million last season and 120% of that number is $20.145 million, that number applies instead.
As a result, this puts pressure on the Packers to find a way to extend Adams’ contract before next Wednesday to reduce that cap number. The Packers were estimated to be about $26 million over the cap prior to Tuesday, though Rodgers’ impending contract extension should reduce his $46.7 million hit significantly to help make room for Adams. Look for additional contract extensions or restructures to come for some combination of Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, Billy Turner, and Dean Lowry as the team will need to move almost every feasible dollar out of 2022 to get compliant by next week.
Russ Ball and Brian Gutekunst will figure out the financial piece of the puzzle. For now, Matt LaFleur has to be happy that when he gets back to Green Bay for the offseason, his two most important offensive players will be there for another season.