Packers' stalled contract talks with Davante Adams tied to DeAndre Hopkins' deal

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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Packers wide receiver Davante Adams has a year remaining on his contract.

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers have reached the point in contract talks with wide receiver Davante Adams where each side has refused to move off its negotiating spot.

And so, as often happens in high-stakes negotiations, news of Adams and his agent, Frank Bauer, breaking off talks on a contract extension surfaced Friday.

A source from Adams’ camp said the Packers have refused to consider the two-year, $54.5 million extension Arizona receiver DeAndre Hopkins signed last year in establishing a yearly average for Adams’ extension.

NFL Network was first to report that talks between the two sides were suspended and the Hopkins deal was the main issue.

Adams has a year left on his contract, and a report like this surfacing before training camp starts isn’t a surprise. It’s ideal for Adams to sign the deal before the start of the regular season so that he is protected financially in case he suffers an injury during the final year of his contract.

The Packers are committed to re-signing Adams, and given the mega-deals they gave left tackle David Bakhtiari and nose tackle Kenny Clark after long negotiations in which there were extended periods of inactivity, it’s not surprising there is frustration on Adams’ part.

The Packers are going to have to pay a lot to keep Adams, who can make an argument he is the best wide receiver in the NFL, but they have another contract negotiation hanging over their head that needs to be completed first.

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If quarterback Aaron Rodgers is to return, it’s likely he will garner a huge raise that will greatly affect the Packers’ salary cap for years to come and fitting Adams’ deal under the expected restrictions will require some creativity.

The Packers almost always demand a structure in which a signing bonus is the primary source of guaranteed money — they prefer to pay out cash now than to pay later because it helps them spread out the salary cap charges more evenly over the course of the deal.

But the issue right now appears to be yearly average.

After Hopkins, Tennessee’s Julio Jones ($22 million), the Los Angeles Chargers’ Keenan Allen ($20.025 million) and Dallas’ Amari Cooper ($20 million) hold the highest per-year averages among wide receivers. Jones’ deal was for three years, Allen’s for four and Cooper’s for five.

The Packers undoubtedly want to sign the 28-year-old Adams to a long-term deal and may be willing to pay him a higher average than Jones. But they don’t want the starting point to be the $27.25 million Hopkins received for two added years to his existing five-year contract.

Adams is scheduled to earn $13.25 million this year in the final year of a four-year, $58 million extension he signed in December of 2017.

It makes sense that Adams’ unhappiness with negotiations was made public now. The Packers are feeling the heat with reports of Rodgers vowing not to return to the team and the Adams news only adds to the pressure the franchise is feeling heading into the ’21 season.

Adams, along with all Packers veterans, is due to report to training camp Tuesday. The first practice is Wednesday and there has been no indication that Adams will not report. In the cases of Clark and Bakhtiari, they signed extensions after training camp started, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Adams to reach agreement before or weeks after the regular season started.

The Packers have about $5 million in salary cap space remaining in 2021.

NOTE: The Packers completed the signing of their 2021 draft class by announcing they had signed wide receiver Amari Rodgers, a third-round pick out of Clemson.

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