Trading WR Davante Adams ‘difficult for me personally’

Having to part with a star player is difficult. When that player is one of the best all-around receivers in the NFL today, the downside is usually unprecedented.

Speaking to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero at the League’s annual meeting on Sunday, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur spoke about team trade star Davante Adams at the Raiders.

“Sometimes you have to make tough decisions,” LaFleur said. “I certainly appreciate everything Davante has brought to our team. I mean, he’s the best receiver in the National Football League, so it was tough for me personally and for our organization.”

Asked if there had been any talk of trying to talk Adams out of leaving, LaFleur replied, “Well, there was really nothing to talk about. I mean, you’re negotiate a contract and it was certainly just one of those where, as I said, a lot of tough decisions had to be made.”

The trade with Las Vegas came after Adams informed Green Bay that he would not be playing under the franchise tag, which the Packers placed on the All-Pro wide at the 11th hour of the 8 deadline. March. Adams then signed a five-year, $141.25 million contract with the Raiders upon his arrival.

Adams, a second-round draft pick from Green Bay in 2014, is on hallowed ground after eight seasons with the franchise, ranking second all-time in catches (669) and touchdown receptions (73) and fourth in receiving yards (8,121).

“To the Packers organization, I can’t thank you enough for seeing in me what no one else has,” Adams wrote in his farewell. “That phone call in 2014 was one of my most memorable moments and I promised myself then that I would do everything in my power to thank you for giving it a shot. We have accomplished a lot together and even in difficult times, you have always supported me and your confidence in me has never wavered. For that, I will be eternally grateful to you.”

LaFleur, who “hoped” to retain the Adams ahead of free agency, echoed that sentiment on Sunday.

“Well, I think Tae and I have a great relationship,” he said. “I think there’s great mutual respect. He’s definitely a guy who’s going to be difficult to replace and so you never want to let great players like that walk away from your team. But, as I I said this is just one of those deals where tough decisions have to be made. Unfortunately in the National Football League there’s a thing called the salary cap and you have to go below that as well. So everything was taken into account in these decisions.

Replacing Adams won’t be easy, or even really possible. A first-team all-pro for the past two seasons, Adams is coming off a year in which he posted career-best 123 receptions for 1,553 yards (11 touchdowns). Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who won his second straight MVP award in 2021, relied heavily on Adams to execute precise routes, anticipate back-shoulder throws, create space on plays broken and be self-assured, especially in the highest pressures. situations.

“I think like any great quarterback or quarterback in general, you want as many plays around you as possible,” LaFleur said when asked how Rodgers handled the trade. “There will definitely be opportunities, we are still in free agency and then we have the draft. In my experience there is a lot of movement that can take place between now and the start of the season.”

LaFleur added: “We’re absolutely going to have to add some pieces to this room and, you know, we have to build our offense around what we have. You can’t look back and you have to go forward.”

The 2022 offseason has been another whirlwind for LaFleur and the Packers organization. Last year’s getaway didn’t stop the Packers from winning their third straight NFC North title and third straight 13-win season in 2021, but as NFL business realities help moderate parity in the league, the drama of the offseason persists.

When asked if he often dreams of having a normal, calm offseason, the Packers coach seemed to take it all in stride.

“Every night,” LaFleur replied with a smile. “But I know that’s not the reality of our league.”