In a stunning turn of events, the Green Bay Packers have traded
the “best receiver Aaron Rodgers every played with”
(his words) - Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders. In exchange
for one of the best receivers of the past half-dozen years, the
Packers will receive the Raiders’ first and second round picks
in this April’s draft.
Adams in Las Vegas
This news is stunning on many fronts, but let’s start with
the Raiders’ pass offense. For Adams, it may be a “downgrade”
at the quarterback position, but don’t oversell this point
as a reason to not believe in Adams in the upcoming season.
First, these two already know each other very well and were successful
together. Look below at the chart of the two years they starred
for the Fresno State Bulldogs.
In Carr’s senior season and Adams’ final year they
led the nation in four categories – passing yards, passing
TDs, receptions and receiving TDs. And Adams fell just 11 yards
short of Brandin Cooks’ 2013 season yardage total (1,730).
It shouldn’t take long for these two to get back on the
However, unlike in Green Bay, the Raiders have better receivers
to complement Adams.
Hunter Renfrow saw a jump in production last season filling the
void left by suspensions and injuries late in the season to produce
a 103-1038-9 season (261.1 FPts). He was consistent, producing
double-digits fantasy points in 14 of 17 games. Renfrow finished
10th-best among fantasy wideouts and 17th in FPts/G (15.4). Unfortunately,
his volume (128 targets) will likely take a small hit, but it
shouldn’t hurt his yards and catches as much as his touchdown
Tight end Darren Waller is one of the elites at his position.
Despite playing hurt/dealing with Covid for much of the second
half, he still produced 12.1 FPts/G (sixth-best) on 93 targets.
He’s likely to remain a top TE despite sharing the field
with a “target hog” like Adams (169 targets in 2021
and an average of 142 targets since 2016). Zay Jones and his 70
targets are gone to Jacksonville and Henry Ruggs’ 36 targets
are available, while Bryan Edwards will likely lose most of his
59 targets, meaning more than 150 targets could shift to Adams
without too much hurt to Renfrow and Waller.
If Adams, Renfrow and Waller can all keep their yardage totals
then it figures that Carr is going to throw for a high number
in 2022. And he’ll have to produce in a division (AFC West)
which now includes Russell Wilson to go along with Patrick Mahomes
and Justin Herbert. These division games should be shootouts like
the old AFL (think John Hadl and Lance Alworth, George Blanda
and Charlie Hennigan, Len Dawson and Otis Taylor and many others
… go ask your fathers and grandfathers about these greats).
Carr threw for a career-high 4,804 yards last season, but just
23 touchdowns. That touchdown number figures to skyrocket as Adams
showed in Green Bay he’s masterful near the goal line. Of
his 73 career touchdown receptions, 38 were from 10-yards or less
(21 inside the 5-yard line). If all three top pass-catchers stay
healthy, Carr should easily crack 5,000 passing yards and 35 touchdowns
should be in reach.
The mess in Green Bay
The ramifications of drafting Jordan Love will haunt this team
for many years. Using a No. 1 pick for Love alienated Rodgers,
who produced back-to-back MVPs, but didn’t see fit to give
any hometown discount to Green Bay. Thus a three-year. $150 million
extension which leaves the team tight to the cap for the next
few years. Exit Za’Darius Smith who is likely out of their
price range. Then Adams said he wouldn’t play under a franchise
tag and there was really no realistic way for the Packers to keep
him. The surprising point here being Rodgers knew Adams wasn’t
going to return to the fold when he signed his monster deal.
So what now?
Currently Green Bay has Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb. The Packers
will likely already be calling Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s
agent to see if he will come back. But that certainly isn’t
enough. At this point many of the good free agent wideouts have
already agreed to deals. Odell Beckham Jr. is available, but blew
out an ACL in the Super Bowl and can’t be expected to be
ready opening day. Jarvis Landry? Will Fuller? JuJu Smith-Schuster?
You would expect at least one of them to be signed, but with just
$22 million under the cap (which must also include drafted player
monies) has the signings of Christian Kirk and now Adams priced
them out of the veteran receiver market?
Could they use one of their now two first rounders on a wide
receiver or at the least a second round in a receiver heavy draft?
Of this I have no doubt.
In the meantime, while I’m sure Rodgers will continue to
churn out top-10 fantasy seasons, how he’ll dole out the
targets, yards and touchdowns is to be determined.