Green Bay Packers star Davante Adams says he's 'earned the right' to be the NFL's highest-paid receiver
GREEN BAY – Davante Adams’ demand for the Green Bay Packers in their stalled contract extension talks are simple: He expects to be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver, and he’s unprepared to take anything less.
Whether Aaron Rodgers returns after the 2021 season does not influence that expectation, Adams said. After being named first-team All-Pro last season, setting a Packers franchise record with 115 catches and tying another with 18 touchdowns, Adams is not in the mood for a hometown discount.
The four-time Pro Bowler wants what he believes is earned.
“That’s not going to happen,” Adams said about accepting a discount. “It’s not about being a baby, but what other profession do you take less than what you have earned? It’s not how it goes.
“I’ve earned the right to be paid highest in the league. And if they don’t believe that or want to come to that agreement of trying to make me feel good about my contract ...”
Adams did not finish that thought, but it’s clear time is running out for the Packers to reach a deal with their superstar receiver. He said Wednesday that negotiations are in a “pretty tough spot” with the Packers.
To become the NFL’s highest-paid receiver, Adams would need to earn more than the $27.25 million per year Arizona Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins signed before last season. Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper’s five-year, $100 million contract is the highest total value at the position. Hopkins and Cooper are among four NFL receivers averaging at least $20 million annually, including Tennessee’s Julio Jones ($22 million) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Keenan Allen ($20.05 million).
Adams will almost certainly become the fifth receiver to average more than $20 million annually in the next year. The question is how much higher he’ll rise than that. In Adams’ mind, he gave the Packers six months to approach him with a suitable offer, dating to the end of last season.
Now that training camp is here, it’s uncertain how much more time he’s willing to give. The Packers reached an agreement with left tackle David Bakhtiari in November, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Adams indicated he’d prefer to focus on the season once it begins.
“We’ve had a lot of time to figure this thing out,” Adams said, “and we weren’t really able to make a lot of progress, sadly. Not to get into the details of anything, because it’s a pretty confidential situation, but it’s tough, man. Because the way that this league goes, if you perform well, you’re supposed to get compensated properly for that, and if you underperform, you get cut with no questions asked — or however the team decides to do it. Maybe you don’t get cut, but you get reduced (salary), or whatever it is. There’s not a whole lot of back and forth that goes on with that.
“So it’s tough when you feel like you’ve contributed a lot.”
Packers add depth for offensive line
The Packers let veteran tackle Rick Wagner go during the offseason and had mostly added rookies to build their depth at the tackle position until Wednesday.
General manager Brian Gutekunst is replacing Wagner with 31-year-old Dennis Kelly, an eight-year veteran who started 16 games for Tennessee, according to his agent, Casey Muir, who tweeted about the signing.
The 6-8, 321-pound Kelly has played in 104 games with 47 starts during his pro career, which included three years with the Philadelphia Eagles and five with the Titans. Kelly, like Wagner, can play either side of the line and can play guard if needed.
Kelly signed a three-year, $17.25 million deal with the Titans before last season, but after manning the right tackle spot and being a part of running back Derrick Henry’s 2,000-yard season, he was released in March. The Titans signed free agent Kendall Lamm and gained more than $3 million in cap space with Kelly’s release.