Davante Adams Didn’t Need Aaron Rodgers to Be a Superstar Wide Receiver
Just over a year ago, a blockbuster trade between the Raiders and Packers sent wide receiver Davante Adams to Las Vegas.
The Raiders sent the Packers their 2022 first-round pick (No. 22 overall) and a 2022 second-round pick (No. 53). The Packers turned those picks into Georgia linebacker Quay Walker and wide receiver Christian Watson (after they traded the one obtained from the Raiders and their own at No. 59 to Minnesota).
Not too shabby, but not Davante Adams, who was coming off a 123-catch, 1,553-yard season with the Packers. Adams set the Packers’ franchise record for catches and receiving yards in 2021. In addition, Adams became just the sixth player in NFL history with 120-plus catches, 1,500-plus yards, and 11-plus touchdown catches in the same season. He is also the only player in NFL history with three seasons (2018, 2020-21) of 110-plus catches, 1,350-plus receiving yards, and 11-plus receiving TDs.
Adams rode his record-setting time in Green Bay to a mega-payday in Vegas. Adams signed a five-year contract averaging $28.5 million per season with the Raiders, with $67.5 million fully guaranteed.
However, the Aaron Rodgers cloud hung over Adams’ accomplishments in Green Bay. Would Adams have been able to put up those record-setting numbers without Rodgers throwing to him? It was a question opined last offseason. And, believe it or not, it was one that Davante Adams heard loud and clear. So, he answered it just as loudly last season.
In a sitdown with The Ringer’s Mirin Fader, Adams said he wanted an All-Pro nod in his first season in Vegas to put that narrative to bed.
“Now people can’t say that,” Adams says. “That’ll never be the narrative ever again.” He felt vindicated by the All-Pro honor. Some tightly wound part of him loosened. “It proved that I am me,” he says. “A quarterback doesn’t make me. … I make me. And I can do it consistently at this level.”
“That’s why [last] season meant a lot,” he says. “Even if I went and played like dog shit next year, they can’t say it. Because now I’ve already proved it throughout the course of a season, played every game, and put together a résumé that says I do not need …”
“You can erase all the numbers. You can just write in: He didn’t need Aaron Rodgers.”
Adams caught 100 passes for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first season in Las Vegas. And he did it with Derek Carr as his quarterback. The same Derek Carr that the Raiders cut three months ago.
A new team, a new home, a new (lesser talented) QB, and a new playbook. However, none of it mattered. Davante Adams got the text that he wanted from the Raiders’ P.R. staff this offseason: “Congrats!”
You can read Mirin Fader’s full story on Davante Adams at The Ringer. I strongly recommend you check it out. Fader walks you through Adam’s feelings on his career, what’s left, and what’s next.