Davante Adams Trade: Packers Must Now Select WR in Round 1 of the NFL Draft

It was a trade that few people saw coming, though if you were reading the tea leaves, it’s a trade that made sense. It’s also a trade that has fundamentally changed the Green Bay Packers. With Davante Adams now with the Las Vegas Raiders, it’s a trade that has the Packers desperate for a top wide receiver.

Luckily for Green Bay, the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is chock-full of wide receiver talent, and the Packers now have two first-round picks.

The Green Bay Packers shocked the NFL world and traded Davante Adams

Again, with so little buzz surrounding the potential of trade for Adams, the news of the Packers shipping him off to Vegas seemingly came out of left field.

It makes more sense when you look at how this offseason has played out for the Packers, though. They got their long-term deal done with Aaron Rodgers and have done great work to re-structure deals and even make some tough roster decisions. Extending Preston Smith on a four-year $52 million dollar deal is an example of the former. Cutting Za’Darius Smith and saving $15.2 million on the 2022 salary cap is an example of the latter.

For a team that started the offseason nearly $50 million over the salary cap, Green Bay’s front office has done some great work to take care of the most important piece of the puzzle (Rodgers) while also getting under the cap. (Green Bay is now $22 million under the cap after trading Adams).

The one snag in the offseason plan centered around Adams, though.

He was given the franchise tag, but a long-term deal was the only option that made sense for both parties. Adams wanted to be the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history, and he deserved that type of money, but Green Bay was having a hard time making that work in the budget both now and in the future. We also know that Adams wasn’t going to play on the franchise tag, which meant the two parties were heading toward a stand-still.

For as great as he is, trading Adams away makes sense for Green Bay in the grand scheme of this offseason. It also makes sense for Adams, who goes to Las Vegas to play with his college quarterback and new neighbor (Derrick Carr) while getting the money he rightfully deserves.

The Raiders have given Adams a five-year, $141.2 million contract with an annual average salary of $28.25 million. On the other hand, the Packers got their cake and were able to eat it too with Rodgers, and now have some valuable draft assets that will allow them to retool rather than rebuild.

The Packers have to replace Adams in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft

Davante Adams
Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers catches a pass for a first down as cornerback Mackensie Alexander #24 of the Minnesota Vikings | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Nobody is foolish enough to believe that a rookie wide receiver will come into Green Bay and on day one be good enough to completely replace the production of Adams. He got paid like the best receiver in the NFL because he simply is. That’s not going to be easy for Green Bay to replace, even with a first-rounder or two.

The good news for Green Bay is that the franchise now at least has some ammunition to replace Adams by committee, though, and one would think a four-time MVP quarterback in Rodgers should be able to elevate a committee of solid players around him.

The Packers received Las Vegas’ 2022 first and second-round picks in the blockbuster trade, meaning Green Bay now has picks No. 22 (from Las Vegas) and No. 28 in the first round and picks No. 53 (from Las Vegas) and No. 59 in the second-round.

The great news for the Packers is that the 2022 NFL Draft is stacked with talented wide receivers at the top, meaning general manager Brian Gutekunst can immediately infuse high-end talent back into the wide receiver room.

He also now has a myriad of different ways to do it.

He can use both first-round picks to grab the top two wideouts on the board at the time. He can use the highest first and highest second to do the same thing, while working on the offensive or defensive line with the other two picks.

Gutekunst could also be bold (which he’s known to be) and package some of those picks to move up to grab one of the superstar wideout prospects like Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State or Drake London from USC.

Either way, the Packers must use the first round to address the significant loss of talent that has come with trading Adams to Las Vegas.

Wide receivers the Packers should target in Round 1

Treylon Burks, potential replacement for Davante Adams in Green Bay?
Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Could the Packers replace Davante Adams with Burks? | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If the Packers are content to stay at No. 22 rather than package a few picks and move up, there are several potential star receivers who very well could fall to them at that stage of the draft.

Chris Olave from Ohio State should be one of Green Bay’s top targets in this draft for a multitude of reasons. The main reason is that he’s an absolute burner, though, checking in with a 4.39 40-yard dash time at the 2022 NFL Combine. With 936 yards and 13 touchdowns in his senior season at Ohio State, Olave is the type of wideout who can be a top target for Rodgers from day one.

Treylon Burks from Arkansas is another player who can come into Green Bay and be a difference-maker as a rookie, and he fits the Packers’ mold at wide receiver at 6-foot-3, 225-pounds. He’s a big-bodied receiver who can do a bit of everything, from screens to over-the-top routes, which is exactly what Matt LaFleur loves in a wideout. He caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Razorbacks in 2021, averaging 16.7 yards per catch.

Last but not least would be Jameson Williams out of Alabama. The Packers may not want to take him with pick No. 22 if they feel he can fall to No. 28, but he’s a worth selection at either. The issue with Williams is that he’s coming off a torn ACL in Alabama’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. That could cause him to fall depending on how teams view his recovery.

Drafting him requires a bit of risk and patience, but it could work out, and he could be a steal because he has Top 10 talent. Williams is 6-foot-2, 189-pounds, and caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide before his injury.

Whichever way the Packers decide to go, there will be potentially elite wideouts available for the taking.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac

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