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Davante Adams won’t play on franchise tag, relationship with Green Bay Packers ‘not in great place’

Matt Johnson
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers convinced quarterback Aaron Rodgers to return for the 2022 season, but the franchise could now be in danger of losing Davante Adams due to a contract dispute.

Green Bay placed the $20 million non-exclusive franchise tag on Adams before the deadline. However, the best wide receiver in the NFL isn’t required to sign it and it seems the Packers might be at risk of not seeing him on the field in 2022.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Adams informed the Packers he will not play on the franchise tag this season. Worse yet for Rodgers, the relationship between Green Bay’s front office and Adams is reportedly “not in a great place.”

  • Davante Adams stats (2021): 123 receptions, 1,553 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns

It puts Green Bay in a very challenging spot. Rodgers returned to play with Adams in 2022 and beyond. If his most talented teammate and personal friend won’t be on the field this season, there’s a risk Rodgers could have a change of heart.

While Adams is on the franchise tag, he is allowed to negotiate with other teams. However, the Packers are allowed to match any offer he receives and he isn’t allowed to sign with another team.

How much does Davante Adams want to be paid?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past four seasons, Adams is one of the most dominant players in the NFL. He’s hauled in 432 receptions for 5,310 receiving yards and 47 touchdowns in his last 57 games. Simply put, he’s proven that he is one of the best offensive players in the league.

He wants to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL, but that isn’t as simple as other positions. When the Arizona Cardinals signed DeAndre Hopkins to a two-year contract extension in September 2020, it broke the norm. The top paid players at his position – Julio Jones ($22 million) and Keenan Allen ($20 million) –came significantly under Hopkins’ AAV.

Green Bay’s 29-year-old receiver wants to reset the market. He’s reportedly targeting a multi-year extension worth at least $30 million annually, it’s an AAV that a non-quarterback has never reached.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders could pull off Davante Adams sign-and-trade

Adams does hold leverage in this situation. While he’s not a free agent, he knows that signing the tag would leave a $20 million cap hit on the Packers’ books. It’s something the organization can’t afford, already over the NFL salary cap.

If he chooses not to sign it, he still has options. Adams can refuse to report for training camp and the preseason, moving past the July deadline for teams to agree to extensions with tagged players. If he is committed to not playing on the tag, he can sit out the 2022 season without pay.

The Packers will also certainly be feeling pressure from Rodgers to get a deal signed, creating even more leverage for Adams. However, cap constraints and the lack of substantial negotiations between the two sides are troubling.

In the coming days and weeks, it wouldn’t be a surprise if rival clubs inquire about the availability of Adams. There is a void of elite talent at wide receiver in free agency and there are teams (Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins) with money to spend. As for the potential return via trade, Green Bay would likely require a 2022 first-round pick and would use it on a wide receiver.

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For now, the most likely outcome is Adams and the Packers figuring out a resolution. However, the possibility remains that we might not see Adams playing for the Packers in 2022.