The Las Vegas Raiders gave up a first and second-round pick to acquire Davante Adams from the Packers in 2022, but the All-Pro wideout is already uncertain about the direction of his new team. And given that his contract structure makes a trade feasible for the Raiders, Adams is suddenly a realistic candidate to get moved.
Could the Raiders Trade Davante Adams?
Adams requested a trade out of Green Bay after the 2021 campaign, and his primary motivation seemed to be reuniting with Derek Carr, his college quarterback at Fresno State.
But Carr is no longer in Las Vegas. Following a middling season from their signal-caller, the Raiders tried to trade Carr before ultimately releasing him ahead of free agency. Carr signed with the Saints, while Vegas brought in Jimmy Garoppolo — head coach Josh McDaniels’ former student with the Patriots — as a replacement.
“I’m going to have to buy into this and try to be as optimistic as possible,” Adams said in an interview with Mirin Fader of The Ringer. “It’s not what I expected to happen, but it’s something that’s the reality now.”
Adams has not requested a trade, and he complimented Garoppolo as a “really cool dude.” Still, Adams said he doesn’t “see eye to eye” with the Raiders’ front office on what is best for the team.
“It all depends on the style of ball that we play,” Adams said. “If we play a certain brand of ball, I can get (Garoppolo) to conform to whatever. But if we use him a certain type of way, then it’s going to make it tough for us to maximize who we should be this year.”
What Could the Raiders Get for Adams?
An Adams trade feels unlikely for a number of reasons. The Raiders, having signed Garoppolo and eschewed drafting an early-round quarterback, likely view themselves as contenders (or at least fringe contenders) and wouldn’t want to give up their best offensive player.
Vegas sacrificed valuable draft capital to land Adams last year and has already paid him more than $43 million in cash. A sunk cost is a sunk cost, but that’s a lot for the Raiders to overlook if they try to move Adams.
Still, Adams’ contract would make a trade financially feasible for Las Vegas. If they traded Adams after June 1, they’d absorb $7.85 million in dead money this season and $23.55 million in 2024. NFL teams have become more willing to take on dead cap, so $31.4 million spread over two years probably won’t present much of an obstacle.
Meanwhile, Adams would have tremendous trade value if he’s put on the block. Even if he earns all of his per-game roster bonuses and workout bonuses over the next two seasons, he’d only collect $24.39 million.
Two years and $24+ million for a receiver with three straight 1,300+ yard seasons and first-team All-Pro nods would represent an absolute steal. Sure, Adams is on the wrong side of 30, but plenty of teams would be amenable to giving up a first-round selection — especially a pick in the back half of Day 1 — to acquire him.
Speculatively, the Lions might be the best potential fit for Adams. Detroit needs another receiver, especially now that 2022 first-rounder Jameson Williams has been suspended for the first six games of the season. Amon-Ra St. Brown is elite, but the Lions’ tertiary receivers are currently Josh Reynolds and Marvin Jones.
Adams’ frustration with the Raiders could blow over, and this conversation could become moot, but we’ve seen veteran players force their way out of town before. Sometimes, the financial difficulties of a potential trade make it nothing more than fodder for discussion. But that’s not the case here, and Adams’ contract could be traded if his relationship with Vegas becomes more strained.