The Denver Broncos acquired Russell Wilson and held the Biggest Offseason Blockbuster Trade Award for a whole nine days. The Green Bay Packers then stole the NFL news cycle for themselves on March 17, sending superstar receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Aaron Rodgers signed his deal and subsequently lost his guy.
But there’s no need to panic, Packers fans (although you surely are already). It’s time to take Aaron’s old sage wisdom to heart and R-E-L-A-X.
Green Bay will be just fine without Davante.
The Green Bay Packers completed a trade sending Davante Adams to the Raiders
Who knew this offseason’s Green Bay Packers news would get more explosive than officially ending the Aaron Rodgers saga? (Assuming it’s over. Who knows anymore).
Davante is leaving the little town of Green Bay for the bright lights of Vegas after he and the Packers couldn’t agree on a contract extension, per NFL.com.
The Pack will get back a pair of 2022 picks in the deal: A first-rounder (No. 22 overall) and a second-rounder (No. 53 overall).
Adams immediately signed a five-year, $141.25 million contract with the Silver and Black, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history.
Green Bay offered the Fresno State product even more money, but it was his “lifelong dream” to play for the Raiders, per NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport.
Losing the best receiver in the league is a massive blow to Rodgers and the Packers, for sure. But it’s not a death knell.
History shows the Pack will survive without their star wideout
Superstar receivers are not a dime a dozen. One like Adams is certainly tough to replace. But not impossible.
Green Bay now has the Nos. 22 and 29 picks in the 2022 NFL Daft — 22 is the same spot where the Minnesota Vikings snatched up Justin Jefferson in 2020.
The Packers also have picks 53 and 59 in the second round. Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool, and Super Bowl Champion Van Jefferson were second-round picks in 2020. (Adams was also a second-round pick, FYI).
Marquise Brown and N’Keal Harry were the two wideouts selected in 2019’s first round. They haven’t lived up to those expectations.
But Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, Mecole Hardman, and DK Metcalf were second-round picks that year. Terry McLaurin was picked in the third round. Adams’ new teammate, Hunter Renfrow, was a fifth-round pick in 2019.
Going back to 2018, Courtland Sutton and the now-extremely-wealthy Christian Kirk were second-round selections. Michael Gallup was picked in the third round. Green Bay’s own Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a fifth-round selection.
And there are other reasons to believe in a team that exists without Davante. For starters, the Packers still have Aaron Rodgers, who has cured a lot of wide receiver ills during his career.
Valdes-Scantling is currently a free agent, but the recent news suggests Green Bay may have an increased sense of urgency in bringing him back. A-Rod still has a pair of other favorite targets in Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb as well.
And running back Aaron Jones was Rodgers’ most highly-targeted offensive weapon outside of Adams last year. The 27-year-old can expect a significantly increased amount of touches.
Aaron won the 2021 MVP without having one of his best seasons. He was great, but the Packers weren’t 13-3 for the third straight season just because of Rodgers.
Green Bay ran the ball on nearly 42% of their offensive plays last year, per TeamRankings.com. In 2020, that number was almost 44%.
Under head coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers’ offense has transitioned from “Aaron go make a play” to a play-action, zone running scheme.
It’s hard to gauge exactly how much LaFleur has really wanted to lean on that run game. The Rodgers-Adams duo was too good to ignore. But odds are we see Green Bay’s franchise QB take his $42 million and hand the ball off at a much higher rate.
An often-banged-up Jones only ran for 799 yards in 2021, but he still did it at 4.7 yards a pop, and he went over 1,000 yards the two seasons prior.
Second-year bruiser AJ Dillon actually led Green Bay in rushing last season, amassing 803 yards and seven touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry during a breakout campaign.
The two combined for a little thunder-and-lightning action to support Rodgers and Adams. Expect to see some more of that in 2022 — and with an aging QB and a defense that ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in points allowed, that’s not a bad recipe for W’s.
With Aaron Rodgers in the fold expectations don’t change, even after the Adams trade
Per ESPN’s Rob Demvosky, Rodgers was aware of the situation between the Packers and Adams before he decided to sign his new massive contract.
Looking back on the last year-plus of the franchise’s decisions, it seems ludicrous to think Aaron wasn’t consulted every step of the way.
But with a four-time NFL MVP behind center — and one as demanding (to put it nicely) as Rogers has been of late, it’s still Super Bowl or bust in Green Bay.
General manager Brian Gutekunst now has more cap space to work with after sending Adams packing, and he also has seven picks in the first four rounds to find another offensive weapon or two for his QB.
So Packers fans can chill. Your organization has gone out of its way to grant its franchise quarterback’s every wish. And his latest one is certainly to win a Lombardi Trophy in his twilight seasons.
So sit back and R-E-L-A-X a little more comfortably.
All statistics unless otherwise noted courtesy of Pro Football Reference.