A Topsy Turvy Week in TitletownPosted:Mar 18th, 2022 9:21 am
Man, what a week in Titletown. I was prepared to sit down today and write a blog about the pluses and minuses of the first week of free agency.
The pluses: Rodgers signs his contract, the team locks up linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and brings back Preston Smith, along with a new, slimmed down contract for Randall Cobb.
The minuses: the inevitable release of Za’Darius Smith, the mildly surprising release of Billy Turner and the loss of Lucas Patrick in free agency.
All in all, a good week in my eyes. Getting Campbell back was my top priority for the Pack, once Rodgers was in the fold.
And then Thursday night happened, with the news that Davante Adams was on his way to Las Vegas to play with his college buddy Derek Carr and fulfill a lifelong dream to play for the Raiders. All this time we were led to believe the Packers were hesitant to make him the league’s highest paid wide receiver. We come to learn that Adams took less money to sign a long term deal in Vegas. It’s where his heart was.
Some will consider this a knock on Rodgers and/or the organization. We may never know exactly how Adams feels about things, but if that’s where he wants to be, he’s earned that opportunity. Maybe he looked a year or two down the road and didn’t love the idea of being part of a rebuild with a likely much lesser quarterback. We know this: he is a future Packer and NFL Hall of Famer and I hope he flourishes in Vegas.
So what does this mean for the Pack and its Super Bowl hopes in 2022? Well, it’s safe to say the offense will look a lot different without the league’s most dangerous aerial connection. Who knows what the Pack will do to fortify the position beyond Lazard, Cobb and Amari Rodgers? With four picks in the top 59, they can obviously upgrade there. Or they could trade a pick for a veteran like DK Metcalf, TJ Lockett, Diontae Johnson or Corey Davis.
With the added cap room they can also turn to what’s left in free agency, starting with Marques Valdez-Scantling, whose speed would be difficult to replace on the roster—and who they reportedly are interested in bringing back. Other options range from veterans like Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry, Emmanuel Sanders and Will Fuller, to a younger guy like Ju Ju Smith-Schuster. Obviously, the Pack will not replace what Adams brings to the table, but Matt LaFleur’s offense has demonstrated that it can function very effectively without him—as you know, they’re 7-0 in games he missed and Rodgers tends to play more within the system when he doesn’t fall into that mode of playing pitch and catch with #17. I’m anxious to see how they attack the position in the coming days/weeks.
The extra cap room might also allow them to find a tight end in free agency. Even if they do re-sign Robert Tonyan to a short-term deal, there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready for training camp. I’d love to see them sniff around Austin Hooper, Eric Ebron, Blake Jarwin, Anthony Firkser or Jordan Akins. Right now, it’s the biggest hole on the roster.
The defense may benefit from Adams’ departure—it may allow them to bring back Rasul Douglas, which would give the Pack arguably the best trio of corners in the league. There might even be some dollars available to fortify the depth on the D line, at edge rusher and/or a third safety.
The day after you move on from a superstar your team looks diminished, because it is. But this is the kind of deal you may look back on in a few years and say the team that traded the nearly 30 year old receiver making more money than any non-QB in NFL history won the trade. Of course, it will depend on what Brian Gutekunst and his staff do with their draft bounty. Having four picks in the top 59 provides what should be four future starters, or the ability to move around and make trades.
Like virtually all of you, I prefer a scenario where Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers are teammates for the next three years, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if we all feel really good about this trade a year or two down the road.