The Green Bay Packers are facing a March 8 deadline to decide whether they will use the franchise tag on All Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. According to a report from Dan Graziano of ESPN, the two sides have been involved in ongoing negotiations but have not made significant progress.
Here are five reasons why the Packers will likely use the franchise tag on Adams before the March 8 deadline if they can’t sign him to a new, long-term deal before then:
- The Packers and Adams Are Waiting for Aaron Rodgers
Some reports have said that Rodgers will make his decision on or before Tuesday, but one thing we know from following the Rodgers saga over the past year, rumors are one thing and facts are another. Until the reigning NFL MVP makes up his mind and makes that public, we don’t know what his ultimate decision will be.
The Packers are waiting to see what Rodgers does for several reasons. First, if Rodgers signs a new extension, this creates more cap space that can help the Packers sign Adams to a new deal. Second, if Rodgers demands a trade, Adams may want to go to whichever team his quarterback is sent to because of the friendship and unique chemistry between the two long-time teammates.
If Rodgers waits on his decision, A-Rod could be encouraged to stay with the Packers if he knows the Packers can keep Adams via the franchise tag or a long-term extension.
- It Buys the Packers Time
If negotiations are not making progress as has been reported, the use of the franchise tag buys the Packers some time. They would have until mid-July to negotiate a new long-term deal with Adams that could also give the Packers some cap relief for this season while making sure one of the league’s best receivers remains in Green Bay for the next several years.
The worst case scenario then would be that Adams either refuses to play under the franchise tag or the team can’t come to a new deal with him and they end up absorbing a cap hit of roughly $20 million for 2022 if he plays on the one-year franchise tender.
- It Gives the Team Longer to Resolve the Dispute Over Highest Paid Receiver
One of the major stumbling blocks in negotiations with Adams reportedly has to do with Adams’ desire to be the highest paid receiver in the league. The Packers have said they are willing to accommodate that request, but they disagree with Adams and his agent as to how that is calculated.
Right now, the highest paid receiver in the NFL is DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals. He earns $27.3 million per year. But Hopkins signed an extension a couple of years ago that made it tougher for the Packers and Adams to resolve this issue.
To simplify it, Adams wants to be paid more than what Hopkins is earning on his extension, while the Packers want to pay him more than the average Hopkins made over the length of his contract.
The two sides would get four more months to settle this rather challenging issue and try to arrive at a new deal if the Packers use the franchise tag on Adams.
- It Maximizes the Packers Compensation
If Adams simply leaves Green Bay as a free agent without the Packers using the franchise tag on him, the most they can get in exchange is a compensatory draft pick that can be no higher than the third round.
If the Packers use the franchise tag on Adams and then decide to trade him, they are likely to receive more compensation in the trade than just a third-round pick.
The option of signing Adams to the franchise tag and then trading him if either side is unhappy gives GM Brian Gutekunst more flexibility and likely gives him greater compensation for the loss of Adams than they’d get if they just let him walk.
If Rodgers demands a trade, Gutekunst could try to package the two together in a mega-deal, or he could send Adams to a different team. Either way, this helps the Packers.
- The Packers Would Have More Control Over Adams’ Destination
Another advantage of using the franchise tag on Adams if they don’t sign him to a new deal before Tuesday’s deadline is that it would give the Packers more control over where Tae would play next season.
If the Packers can’t come to an agreement with their star receiver, Gutekunst could make sure he doesn’t join another NFC team in 2022 if they are forced to trade him.
If they don’t tag Adams and he becomes a free agent, he would be free to sign with any of the other 31 teams in the NFL including the Vikings, Bears, Lions, Rams or Cowboys.
Obviously, sending him to an AFC team would lessen Adams’ ability to hurt the Packers in the short run.
Hopefully, the Packers and Adams reach a long-term deal before Tuesday’s deadline. But if that doesn’t happen, the Packers would be in a better position if they use the franchise tag on Adams, even if it means absorbing a larger cap hit in the short-term.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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