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Davante Adams Is the Packers’ New Golden Boy

The last time the term “golden boy” was used around Green Bay was when Vince Lombardi had a giant crush on halfback Paul Hornung.

On December 29, Davante Adams signed a four-year deal, worth $58 million, $30 million guaranteed, including an $18 million signing bonus, and at an average annual salary of $14.5 million, and a dead cap value of $25.96 million.

What was your initial reaction to that announcement? Mine too.

But I don’t want to pass final judgment without doing some comparisons. I started out by using the best receiving yardage list for 2017. I included only wide receivers, and I omitted all players who are still on their four-year rookie contracts, such as Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, and Jarvis Landry.

Below are my 15 comparators, with their receptions, yardage, and ranking for 2017 and the same for their best yardage year, along with how many 1,000-yard seasons they’ve had. They are listed in order of their average annual salaries for their current contracts. Interestingly, only Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones had his best years in 2017.

Antonio Brown (PIT) – $17.0M
2017 – 101 – 1,533 (1st)
Best Year – 2015 – 136 – 1,834 (2nd)
1,000 Yard Years – 6

DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) – $16.2M
2017 – 96 – 1,378 (4th)
Best Year – 2015 – 111 – 1,521 (3rd)
1,000 Yard Years – 3

A.J. Green (CIN) – $15.0M
2017 – 75 – 1,078 (12th)
Best Year – 2013 – 98 – 1,426 (5th)
1,000 Yard Years – 6

Davante Adams (GB) – $14.5M
2017 – 74 – 885 (23rd)
Best Year – 2016 – 75 – 997 (26th)
1,000 Yard Years – 0

Julio Jones (ATL) – $14.3
2017 – 88 – 1,444 (2nd)
Best Year – 2015 – 136 – 1,871 (1st)
1,000 Yard Years – 5

Demaryius Thomas (DEN) – $14.0M
2017 – 83 – 949 (20th)
Best Year – 2014 – 111 – 1,619 (2nd)
1,000 Yard Years – 5

Dez Bryant (DAL) – $14.0M
2017 – 69 – 838 (28th)
Best Year 2012 – 92 – 1,382 (6th)
1,000 Yard Years – 3

T.Y. Hilton (IND) – $13.0M
2017 – 57 – 966 (18th)
Best Year – 2016 – 91 – 1,448 (1st)
1,000 Yard Years – 4

Alshon Jeffery (PHI) – $13.0M
2017 – 57 – 789 (34th)
Best Year – 2013 – 89 – 1,421 (6th)
1,000 Yard Years – 2

Doug Baldwin (SEA) – $11.5M
2017 – 75 – 991 (16th)
Best Year – 2016 – 94 – 1,128 (11th)
1,000 Yard Years – 2

Keenan Allen (LAC) – $11.3M
2017/Best Year – 102 – 1,393 (3rd)
1,000 Yard Years – 1

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – $11.0M
2017 – 109 – 1,156 (8th)
Best Year – 2008 – 96 – 1,431 (2nd)
1,000 Yard Years – 9

Marvin Jones, Jr. (DET) – $8.0M
2017/Best Year – 61 – 1,101 (9th)
1,000 Yard Years – 1

Golden Tate (DET) – $6.2M
2017 – 75 – 1,078 (14th)
Best Year – 2014 – 99 – 1,331 (7th)
1,000 Yard Years – 3

Mike Wallace (BAL) – $5.8M
2017 – 52 – 748 (40th)
Best Year – 2010 – 60 – 1,257 (5th)
1,000 Yard Years – 2

Was Adams Overpaid?

The case that the Packers overpaid Adams is easy to make. He’s never finished among the top 20 in the league in yardage, while only three of the others have never finished among the top six in their best year. He’s never had a 1,000-yard season (though he’s almost had two), while 12 of the other 14 have had multiple 1,000 yard seasons.

Adams being paid more than Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, and T.Y Hilton? Being paid at least $3 million more per year than Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Jones, and Golden Tate? Who gets “credit” for this negotiation? Ted Thompson? Russ Ball?

I’m not sure how you’d make the case that Adams wasn’t overpaid, but you’d probably start out by saying with the Packers likely to lose either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson, or both because of their massive contracts, Adams was in a very strong bargaining position – and the team didn’t want this to be a drawn-out affair. Yes, Adams has won me over, but let’s face it: he has for some reason been given special treatment since the day he showed up for training camp in 2014.

I’d say Adams’ proper market value is about $12 million per year; if so, the overpayment over four years is $10 million, an average of $2.5 million per year. And none of this takes into account that one more concussion (he’s had three pretty severe ones) could end Adams’ career.

Contracts Increase in Later Years

Bear in mind, we’ve been talking about annual averages for these contracts. In actuality, the payments to the Packers’ receivers increase in each year of their contracts.

Jordy Nelson is signed up to make $12.5 million in 2018. Randall Cobb is on tap for $9.4 million.

In 2018, the first year of Adams’ four-year deal, he is set to make $10.5 million.

You’ve probably heard the concerns about paying each of the Packers’ three top receivers at least $10 million in the same year. As things presently stand, the actual total for the threesome for 2018 would be more than $35 million.

Due to the payments increasing in each year of these contracts, it makes it all the more likely that Nelson and/or Cobb could be released or traded prior to the 2018 season. By the way, both players’ contracts contain a “potential out” provision for 2018. The Packers could actually save money, suck up the dead cap money, and move on.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have that $2.5 million overpayment available to help retain the other two receivers?

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Rob Born

Due to Aaron Rodgers’ reckless ways, I’m officially launching the Campaign for GM Gutekunst to Acquire the Best Available (Veteran) Backup Quarterback – NOW.

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4 Comments

  1. Cheese January 6, 2018

    Ouch.. Can you tell which one of these doesn’t belong?

  2. Truth January 6, 2018

    Great article about the golden boy.

    Curious to see if he follows recent Packer tradition and plays at a reduced level after signing the big deal.

    Don’t forget how Adams played when Nelson wasn’t out ther to draw attention either.

  3. FTS January 6, 2018

    If thats what the market says then sign him. That contract will look like a bargain within two years with all the WR due for contracts.

  4. Mitch Anthony January 7, 2018

    If Cobb goes then Montgomery can go back to WR to fill that void since the RB situation has stabilized. Nelson is not worth what he is being paid. He might/could restructure and get another season but not much more.

    This team really needs to draft a feature wide receiver and not just a late round development project. Either Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton will likely be available at pick 14. Could this be the way to go with the first pick?