Aaron Rodgers hasn't shied away from criticizing the Green Bay Packers, both while he was on the team and since he left.
One understandable criticism is the way the Packers handled the final year of Davante Adams' contract.
Adams told the I Am Athlete podcast earlier this month that the Packers had offered him a deal below $20 million per year, nowhere near making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. Contract negotiations broke off, the Packers franchise-tagged him, then Adams requested a trade.
The Packers should've handled that situation a lot better. Adams deserved to be given a huge long-term contract. Adams said on the podcast that he still would've been in Green Bay had the team paid him what he deserved in the summer of 2021.
Rodgers lost his All-Pro wide receiver for his final season with the Packers, and he shared his opinion in a recent interview with The Athletic.
Packers Rumors: Aaron Rodgers slams team over how they handled Davante Adams contract situation
Davante Adams' trade to the Las Vegas Raiders came as a huge surprise. Not because Adams wanted to leave or that he would reunite with college quarterback Derek Carr, but instead because the deal came only days after Aaron Rodgers had signed an extension to stay in Green Bay.
With Rodgers returning, the Packers were presumably going all-in to win. Trading away Adams doesn't help your championship chances.
Speaking to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Rodgers gave his take on the situation.
"They offered him less money than Christian Kirk ($18 million per year) and (Adams) is going, 'Are you serious right now? I'm the best receiver in the league, and you're gonna offer me less than Christian Kirk?" Rodgers said. "With all due respect, he's not on Davante's level."- Aaron Rodgers told The Athletic
This doesn't add up entirely, as the Packers' contract talks with Adams reportedly broke off in 2021, while Christian Kirk signed that deal the following offseason. However, Rodgers' point stands.
ESPN's Rob Demovsky reported that the Packers were willing to match the deal he ended up signing with the Raiders. Clearly, it was too late and Adams wanted out.
The Packers had the best wide receiver in the league but, for a while, were unwilling to pay him the same as the highest earners at the position. As Rodgers pointed out, this can send a message to a player, whether intended or not.
"I'm sure that the team will say that's just the business of negotiation — it's like, yeah, but you're also sending a message to that guy, and a lot of times it can stick with guys and make them a little sour on things. … That goes back to the first offer that they made, and I don't think (the Packers) had the foresight — obviously didn't have the foresight."- Aaron Rodgers told The Athletic
It's hard to argue with Rodgers' points. That's exactly how it played out. The Packers gave Adams a disrespectful offer and by the time they had changed their minds, it was too late. Adams wanted to play for the Raiders.
Had Green Bay made Adams the highest-paid wide receiver in the league, who knows how differently things may have turned out? The Packers' offense would've been better in 2022, there's no doubt about that.
But here we are. A year after the Packers traded Adams to the Raiders, they dealt Rodgers to the New York Jets. They go from teammates to AFC rivals. Adams' Raiders will meet Rodgers' Jets this season.
Will the Packers regret not keeping them both?