This past week, shockwaves hit the NFL. The Green Bay Packers agreed to trade star wide receiver, Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders. By agreeing to trade Adams to the Raiders for their first and second-round picks this year, they agreed to let their best-pass catcher leave. Now, with the dust is still settling, the Green Bay Packers must figure out what to do without Davante Adams.
The Aftermath of the Davante Adams Trade for the Green Bay Packers
Many Packers fans thought for sure that Davante Adams would return for 2022. While he was a free agent, the Packers did place the franchise tag on him. By doing so, the Packers were hoping that it would give them time to come to a long-term agreement. If not, at the very least, he would play under the franchise tag for 2022.
But that all changed when Adams representation informed the Packers he wouldn’t play on the franchise tag. It had been speculated that the Packers had offered more money to Adams than what the Raiders were offering. Even with quarterback Aaron Rodgers slated to return, Adams had made up his mind. He was ready to move on.
There is little doubt, as the weeks go by, that stories of what really happened that led to Adams departure will be reported. But for now, the Packers will need to put together a plan to figure out how to replace Davante Adams.
Replacing Adams will be a Daunting Task
In a recent article by Jason Wilde, it was pointed out that the Packers had gone 7-0 without Adams in games he had missed the past three seasons. It was something pointed out by many Packers fans on Twitter. While it is true that they went 7-0, as Wilde pointed out, Davante Adams meant so much more.
This past season, Adams caught 123 passes for 1,553 yards with 11 touchdown receptions. In his eight seasons with the Packers, he accumulated 669 receptions for 8,121 receiving yards with 73 touchdown receptions. Not only was Adams the Packers best pass-catching weapon, but he had also made himself into the NFL’s best wide receiver.
Now, it will be up to general manager Brian Gutekunst and his staff to figure out a way to replace Adams. A task that will be near impossible. Many will applaud Gutekunst for getting a first and second-round draft pick for Adams. But to expect one or even two rookie wide receivers, no matter how good they are, to replace what Davante Adams is just downright foolish.
Gutekunst’s Unimpressive Track Record Selecting Wide Receivers
On top of expectations for a rookie, there is also Gutekunst’s track record selecting wide receivers. Since taking over in 2018 as the general manager, he has selected just four wide receivers.
Out of the four wide receivers he has selected, only Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been a major contributor. He has been the Packers best deep threat. He has shown glimpses of potential but has also struggled mightily at times. Along with struggling with catching the ball, he has also battled injuries, something that occurred in 2021. He is currently a free agent. The Packers might re-sign him, but it has to be at the right price. If Gutekunst were to overpay for him, it would be a huge mistake.
J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown are two other former Gutekunst draft picks. Moore lasted just one season, catching just two passes. Since his departure, he hasn’t caught a pass in the NFL. St. Brown had a very underwhelming Packers career. Even with being blessed with incredible size and speed, he was never a major contributor to the Green Bay Packers offense. He departed this off-season as a free agent, signing with the Chicago Bears.
The most recent wide receiver pick of Gutekunst is Amari Rodgers. Gutekunst traded up in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft to select Rodgers. However, his only contribution last season came as a kickoff and punt returner. As many know, that turned out to be a disaster. With Randall Cobb taking a pay cut to return next season, it appears his path to be the Packers slot receiver is blocked.
As stated earlier, a rookie wide receiver isn’t going to replace Davante Adams. But Gutekunst has to find at least one wide receiver in this year’s draft that can contribute. His track record doesn’t instill much faith, but he will need to show he can evaluate talent at the wide receiver position.
Wide Receiver Free Agent Market Picked Over
There is a reason players like Davante Adams don’t reach the free-agent market. Most NFL teams understand that replacing a player of Adams caliber is nearly impossible.
With knowing that, it isn’t surprising to see the NFL free-agent market at wide receiver already picked over. At the time of this article, the top three available free-agent wide receivers are Julio Jones, Will Fuller, and Jarvis Landry.
Jones is the most recognizable name on the list. He was a big-time playmaker for the Atlanta Falcons from 2011 to 2020. He was traded to the Tennessee Titans prior to last season and had an injury-plagued year. Jones played in just 10 games, catching 31 passes for 434 yards with just one touchdown reception, all career lows. Being 33, it might be that his career is coming to an end.
Fuller has solid speed but has never played up to his potential. He has also been suspended under the NFL’s PED policy. Landry is the best of the three, but he isn’t a game-changer. He is a solid complimentary wide receiver but has never been a number one wide receiver.
Gutekunst’s best option might be to trade for a wide receiver. With having two first and second-round picks, he has the ammunition to do so. His best option in the trade market might be Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf. With Russell Wilson traded, it appears that the Seahawks are in rebuilding mode. That might make Metcalf available. He is a physically gifted receiver, but he has struggled with catching the ball at times. Metcalf has just one year left on his rookie deal, which might make him a rental player. Something that might not appeal to Gutekunst and the Packers.
Seeing How Good Matt LaFleur Really is
When Brett Favre took over as the Packers starting quarterback he was blessed in having Sterling Sharpe as his top wide receiver. However, Sharpe was lost to a career-ending neck injury in 1994. While losing Sharpe was a major blow to Favre and the Packers, many have speculated that it made Favre a better quarterback.
The thought process behind that is that with Sharpe gone, Favre no longer concentrated on getting the ball to Sharpe. Instead, he played within Mike Holmgren’s offense. Fast forward to the present, many believe that will be the case with Rodgers. With Davante Adams no longer on the roster, Rodgers will need to depend on Matt LaFleur’s system, and he won’t be able to focus on just Adams.
With Adams now gone, you will truly see how good LaFleur’s system truly is. LaFleur has been applauded for his offensive system since taking over as the Packers head coach. Now that Adams is gone, and there is no other receiver on the roster that is capable of being a number one wide receiver, fans will see how truly great LaFleur is as a play-caller and how great his scheme truly is.
In the past couple of seasons, Rodgers has beaten to death talk of his legacy. If he truly wants to cement his legacy, leading the Packers, without a top wide receiver, to a Super Bowl victory would do just that. This off-season, the Packers gave Rodgers a huge contract. Now it is up to Rodgers, without Davante Adams, to show he is worth every dime.
It will be up to LaFleur and Rodgers to show that they are capable of leading the Packers offense without Davante Adams. If either fails, so do the Packers.
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