The Best Potential Landing Spots for Davante Adams in 2022 NFL Free Agency
Adams has been one of the league's most consistent producers over the last five seasons. Since the 2016 campaign began, he has 5,955 receiving yards—more than any receiver other than DeAndre Hopkins—and a league-leading 57 receiving touchdowns.
Adams has shown the ability to excel in multiple systems—playing under both head coach Mike McCarthy and Matt LaFleur—and regularly beats both man and zone coverages. He'll also still be on the right side of 30 when he signs his next contract.
Although Adams' injury history is mildly concerning—he's avoided missing time in only two of his eight seasons thus far—he should still command a massive contract on the open market.
It remains to be seen if Adams will only consider Super Bowl contenders, or if the one-time champion is willing to help an upcoming franchise get to the top. Regardless, he won't come cheap after working hard to get to the top of the NFL's receiver hierarchy.
With that in mind, here's a look at the top five destinations where Adams could land in free agency.
New York Jets
The New York Jets are on pace for their sixth consecutive season with five or less wins. They desperately need to acquire more talent to reemerge as a contender out of the AFC East.
Signing Adams could help fast-track their rise back to relevance.
Adams would immediately vault to the top of the the Jets' receiving corps. He'd join a unit that also includes current No. 1 Corey Davis, who's best suited as a second option, and promising rookie Elijah Moore.
Adding a wideout of Adams' caliber would also greatly aid the development of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. The No. 2 overall pick has gotten off to a slow start to his professional career, completing only 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,168 yards and four touchdowns against nine interceptions while taking 19 sacks.
The Jets also need to improve their offensive line, but having Adams to lean on would make life much easier for the BYU product.
Spotrac projects the Jets to have $53.2 million in salary-cap space this offseason, which should be more than enough room to sign Adams. It might be tough to convince him to play for a team that has struggled for so long, but a massive contract could entice him to take a chance on this organization.
The Detroit Lions are painfully aware of what Adams brings to the table after facing him 12 times over the last eight years. He's caught 65 passes for 723 yards and seven touchdowns in those games, so stealing him away from a divisional rival would be a huge coup for this up-and-coming franchise.
While winless Detroit has been the league's most inept team during a trying 2021 campaign, the club has shown some promise under head coach Dan Campbell.
Over the last three games, the Lions managed to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers and lost to the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns by a combined five points. Half of their defeats have come by no more than one score, so they've often kept things close despite being severely outgunned by most of their foes.
Adding a wideout of Adams' caliber into the mix could turn many of those losses into victories.
One of Detroit's biggest weaknesses right now is a severe lack of receiving talent. The Lions went into 2021 with Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus set to play major roles, but they have since lost both to injuries.
While fourth-round rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown looks like a great middle-round pickup, the club desperately needs to find some established veterans to help turn things around in the Motor City.
The uncertainty under center may not appeal to Adams—Jared Goff's trial run as Detroit's No. 1 QB hasn't gone well—but Detroit is on pace to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft.
If the Lions add an elite quarterback prospect with that selection, acquire more high-upside rookie talent with their other early-round picks and sign Adams, they could quickly vault back into contention.
The Chicago Bears are another NFC North squad that would love to steal Adams away from their biggest rival.
Chicago's offense has been struggling in 2021 as it tries to integrate first-year quarterback Justin Fields under center. The team ranks dead last in passing offense, averaging fewer than 170 yards per game through the air, and its eight passing touchdowns are tied for the NFL's fewest.
Despite the lack of statistical success, Fields has shown flashes of becoming potential franchise quarterback. He recently led a go-ahead drive late against the Steelers and had an extremely impressive 22-yard touchdown run against the 49ers.
The Ohio State product has failed to build a rapport with top wideout Allen Robinson II, whom Chicago franchise-tagged this past offseason. Robinson had back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons and scored 13 touchdowns between 2019 and 2020, but he has recorded only 30 receptions for 339 yards and one touchdown in 2021.
With Robinson likely to leave in free agency, the Bears will have some cap room to acquire a high-end replacement. And although its offense has been inept, Chicago's defense has remained one of the league's better units.
The Bears rank 10th in total defense and ninth in passing defense. They've recorded a league-best 32 sacks on the season, as they boast some top-end talent on that side of the ball. Khalil Mack is a centerpiece whom the team can depend on for elite edge-rushing, and he's under contract through the 2024 season.
If Chicago's brass can convince Adams to buy in on the offensive promise that can complement a high-quality defense, the Bears will be much better positioned to compete for a divisional title and playoff spot in 2022.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the more intriguing landing spots for Adams.
After a 6-5 start to the 2021 season, Las Vegas is right in the hunt for the AFC West title and a playoff spot. The team has found success despite losing a head coach and one of its best receivers during the season.
One of the main reasons for the Raiders' success is the outstanding play of quarterback Derek Carr. The signal-caller leads the league with 3,414 passing yards and has 17 touchdowns against nine interceptions in 11 starts.
While Carr has an elite weapon in tight end Darren Waller, he has yet to play with a top-end wideout during his eight-year career. That could change if Vegas signs Adams in free agency.
The move would reunite the Packers receiver with his college quarterback. Carr and Adams had immense success together at Fresno State between 2012 and '13.
The Bulldogs quarterback threw for over 9,000 yards and 87 touchdowns in that span, with Adams accounting for over 3,000 of those yards and 38 scores. Carr and Adams both came into the league as second-round picks in 2014, quickly becoming key pieces for the clubs that drafted them.
Considering that the Raiders are already boast one of the top aerial attacks in the league, getting Adams in the mix with his proven chemistry with Carr could make this offense nearly unstoppable.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers will have to fend off an armada of suitors, but they may be able to retain Adams this spring.
The Packers could opt to franchise-tag him—Adams will command nearly $20 million in salary if so—but that would impact their ability to fill other holes on the roster.
Ideally, Green Bay would find a way to come to a long-term arrangement with Adams, who has 618 receptions for 7,547 yards and 67 touchdowns since he joined the team back in 2014. The eighth-year veteran still seems to have plenty left in the tank.
The Packers are currently projected to be $34 million over next year's salary cap, so they'll have plenty of restructuring and cuts in the pipeline. They also need to figure out whether they're able to convince future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers to stay in Titletown beyond this season.
Either way, expect general manager Brian Gutekunst to prioritize signing Adams to a big-money, long-term deal.