Davante Adams is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, especially if you look at his last three seasons as a piece. The 30-year-old pass-catcher made waves this offseason when he forced a trade from the Green Bay Packers to the Las Vegas Raiders and promptly signed a new Davante Adams contract. Now the Raiders are a bigger mess than the Packers were last year, and the question all NFL fans — and maybe even the player himself — are asking is, how long is the WR stuck in Las Vegas?
Davante Adams is right back where he started from at the end of the 2022 season
In the 2022 offseason, Davante Adams changed the landscape of the NFL by asking for (and receiving) a trade from the Packers to the Raiders.
Adams was tired of the uncertainty at quarterback with the constant Aaron Rodgers drama. He wanted to be closer to his hometown in Northern California. He wanted to play with his college QB, Derek Carr. And he wanted to play with a team of superstars who he deemed closer to a Super Bowl than the Packers.
At the end of the 2022 season, Adams still lives closer to Palo Alto than he did in Wisconsin. But as for the rest of it, nothing quite worked out as planned.
The Raiders were abysmal this season, going 6-10 through Week 17, and Adams’ best bud, Carr, is out as quarterback. And as an extra kick in the gut, Rodger miraculously rallied the Packers from a 4-8 start and is a Week 18 win vs. the Detroit Lions away from making the playoffs.
After last season, Adams thought he was on a team with the arrow pointing down and massive uncertainty at the most important position in football. Now, he’s in the exact same spot. The only difference is that the Davante Adams contract isn’t as tradeable this time.
The Davante Adams contract
As a part of the trade to the Raiders, the veteran wide receiver signed a big new Davante Adams contract for five years and $140,000,000, with a $19,250,000 signing bonus and $65,670,000 guaranteed. That works out to an average annual value (AAV) of $28,000,000.
This season, Adams earned a base salary of $3,500,000, with $3,850,000 in prorated signing bonus, a $480,000 roster bonus, a $100,000 workout bonus, $4,000,000 from the contract restructuring, and a $250,000 incentive bonus. That works out to a $12,180,000 cap hit and $42,750,000 in dead cap.
In 2023, those numbers go up to $6,030,000 in base salary, with a $3,850,000 prorated signing bonus, a $510,000 roster bonus, a $100,000 workout bonus, $4,000,000 from the contract restructuring, and a $250,000 incentive bonus. Overall, that makes for a $14,740,000 cap hit and $31,400,000 in dead cap. In 2024, Adams has a $25,350,000 cap hit and $23,550,000 in dead cap, and in 2025, it jumps up to $44,100,000 in base salary, but just a $15,700,000 dead cap hit.
This means the first logical spot for the Raiders to get off the Davante Adams contract (or acquiesce to a trade request) is after the 2024 NFL season.
Should he stay, or should he go?
The Davante Adams contract is structured so that there is almost no way the team would trade him between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. That would mean that his cap hit would more than double, from $14.7 million to a $31.4 dead cap hit.
Unless the Raiders decided to totally strip it down and rebuild (which they won’t), that doesn’t make sense. Even if the Raiders traded Adams after June 1 and could spread out that dead cap hit over two seasons, it still wouldn’t make sense because that would mean they couldn’t get 2023 draft picks for Adams.
Despite his longtime friend, Derek Carr, being done with Las Vegas, Adams will have to swallow hard and at least play out next season.
The season will be fascinating, as the Raiders could go in several directions at quarterback. They could stick with Jarrett Stidham, who looked good in Week 17, draft a young QB, sign a veteran free agent (which could even be Tom Brady) or make another trade (which could even be for Aaron Rodgers).
Depending on what happens after that, in 2024, it would be a little easier for Adams to force a trade. But as we know, in the NFL, a whole lot can happen in a year.