Davante Adams evolved into one of the best wide receivers in the league over his eight-year career with the Packers. He and Aaron Rodgers formed a formidable quarterback-wide receiver duo that helped Green Bay to back-to-back NFC Championship games in 2019 and 2020.
Adams’ time in Green Bay came to an end this offseason, however, after he was franchise tagged. The Packers dealt him to the Las Vegas Raiders and drafted Christian Watson (34th overall) and Romeo Doubs (132nd) to add some young depth at the wide receiver position.
Rodgers has won two straight NFL MVP awards to bring his total to four for his career, but it may not be as easy this season without Adams as a go-to target.
Matt Harmon and James Koh of Audacy’s “Reception Perception” podcast discussed the Packers’ wide receiving corps heading into the season and what that might mean for Rodgers and company.
“I see the Packers as being a team that all of these guys: one of the rookies – probably Doubs at this point, Romeo Doubs –, Randall Cobb, maybe Amari Rodgers, Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, whichever tight end emerges, even some of the running backs; I could see like six to seven of these guys on this team having between 500 and 800 yards but nobody going like 900 or 1,000,” Harmon said (4:28 in player above).
“When you look at the Packers, the best two players on this offense I think without a question – besides Aaron Rodgers – are Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. They’re gonna run the hell out of the ball, they’re gonna play pretty slow, and they’re gonna play good defense. And I think Aaron Jones has a chance to catch like 80-plus passes this year.”
If Jones does work his way into the passing game more, that will give him more value to fantasy managers and the Packers alike. It’s speculated that Jones and Dillon will split time at running back, so mixing them into the passing game can only help.
“This is a Rodgers-based offense because of the efficiency with which he plays but he’s not a voluminous passer. And that’s why I kinda think like he’s gonna drag some of these guys to some relevant weeks, he’s gonna drag these guys like Allen Lazard, but they don’t have anybody that’s even close to a Davante Adams,” Harmon said.
“There’s so much talk about ‘Well Davante Adams is losing Aaron Rodgers and it’s a quarterback downgrade to Derek Carr.’ It’s certainly true, it’s inarguable it’s a quarterback downgrade for Davante Adams, but Aaron Rodgers is losing the best receiver in football,” he exclaimed. “I think that matters on the inverse, too. I just think Green Bay, Rodgers can still be a super-efficient passer and nobody on this offense can be like a big-time statistical receiver.”
Adams received 169 of the Packers' 570 targets last season, over 100 more than the next-highest player (Jones with 65). He hauled in 123 of those targets, more than double Jones' 52. Adams was a significant piece of the Packers' offense, and Green Bay will feel his absence.
“I think I’m ready to release the hot take … I think Aaron Rodgers is going to absolutely bust this year,” Koh said (7:24 in player above). “He’s getting up there in age. He’s got absolutely no reliable targets whatsoever. And again, you talk about losing Davante Adams, this is somebody who soaked up 170 targets last year, man. Think about trying to divy 170 targets to a guy who you charted in Allen Lazard as being OK, not a great receiver. Sammy Watkins, well past his prime. Christian Watson’s not ready for the big show. Some rando create a character in Romeo Doubs.
“Where are the 170 targets going to go? So my whole point is yeah, OK, he’s hyper-efficient, but maybe he’s just hyper-efficient throwing to Davante Adams. Is he gonna stay hyper-efficient throwing to these other rando guys on the Packers on the right now?”
Koh has never been big on Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, who “is going to have to coach his a– off, is going to have to gameplan his a– off to go and lift this Packers offense.”
“So for me, I’m just feeling like man, this could be a big-time, big dropoff for Aaron Rodgers coming into 2022,” Koh concluded.