Davante Adams will enter the free agent market following the 2017 season, unless the Green Bay Packers sign him to an extension before that.
Many would say Adams should be the Packers’ top priority for an extension. We would disagree for one simple reason. They’re already paying two receivers $10 million annually — Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
This makes for quite the interesting situation.
How Adams Gets A Deal From the Packers
Before we get into Adams’ worth, we know he’s in line for a big contract from someone, providing he builds on last year’s success. There’s one way that would make sense for the Packers to give him that contract.
If the Packers were to extend Adams, they could use some of their ample salary cap space to eat up part of his contract this season. Then, they could give him a small base salary — and thus, a small cap hit — in 2018.
This would allow them to keep their top three receivers intact as is without paying them all a ton of money in 2018.
What about 2019? Both Nelson and Cobb are free agents.
Where Does Adams Stack Up?
The 2018 free agent receiver market comes down to pretty much four guys.
At the top is Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins. Then there will be a jumble that includes Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson, Philadelphia’s Alshon Jeffery and Adams.
In 2017, the top four free agent receivers were DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jeffery and Kenny Britt. The 2018 class is superior, simply because they are younger overall.
What Is Adams Worth?
Let’s look at what those four guys we just mentioned signed for this year.
- Jackson: $11.1 million annually
- Garcon: $9.5 million annually
- Jeffery: $9.5 million annually (albeit for one year)
- Britt: $8.1 million annually
Assuming Adams doesn’t take step backwards, he would most certainly get a contact averaging at least $8 million annually on the open market. If the Packers signed him for that amount, that would leave them with — on average — about $28 million invested in receivers. Of course, only for one season.
The Randall Cobb Factor
We’ve noted many times that Cobb hasn’t lived up to his contract since he signed it in 2015. He had just 60 receptions for 610 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. Not exactly production equivalent to getting paid $10 million.
If Cobb is unproductive again in 2017, the Packers will have to consider taking their out. That means releasing Cobb following the season, which would make it easy to pay Adams big money.
If the Packers released Cobb in 2018, they’d take on $3.25 million in dead money. They’d also gain $9.5 million in cap space. You can see where that money might go…
But let’s say Cobb rebounds with a nice season. That could put the Packers in a conundrum.
If both Cobb and Adams are strong in 2017, the Packers may have a decision to make. If they aren’t able to extend Adams in the way we mentioned, they might just have to choose between Adams and Cobb.
If that happens, we let Adams walk.
The reason is simple. You can find another Davante Adams pretty easily in the draft. In Adams, we’re not talking about a guy who does anything exceptionally well.
They don’t make a lot of Randall Cobbs. Although he’s clearly only a slot receiver, Cobb is a much more dynamic playmaker (when healthy) than Adams will ever be.
The Hometown Factor
Perhaps there’s a hometown discount in the cards for the Packers with Adams.
Here’s the thing. The best thing Adams possesses is the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. We saw Rodgers throw the ball into tiny windows to Adams time and again in 2016. That’s the trust factor.
Adams is never going to be a guy who gets great separation. Rodgers makes him who he is.
Most teams around the NFL are probably aware of that. To thrive, Adams needs to find a team with a super-accurate quarterback. Otherwise, he’s going to be just another Greg Jennings signing with the Vikings.
It’s possible Adams’ market won’t be what he thinks. It’s possible he already knows he’s in the best situation he’s ever going to be in. It’s also possible some team will throw a ton of money at him, he’ll be blinded by it and we’ll never hear from the guy again.