As the collective hearts of RaiderNation regain a regular pace, the impossible actually occurred. The Las Vegas Raiders traded their first two picks of the 2022 NFL Draft to the Green Bay Packers. In return, the Packers sent Davante Adams west. Additionally, the Raiders signed Adams to a five-year, 141.5 million deal, the richest contract for a wide receiver in NFL history. Now, the Raiders cap off a free agency with one of the best receivers in the league.
For Derek Carr and the most ardent supporters, the excuses seemed to pile up like cordwood. The Raiders needed optimum conditions to win and compete. By adding Adams, any rationalizing or justification of why this team will lose becomes immediately disregarded. Since Michael Crabtree departed the franchise, the offense lacked a true number-one wideout. Although the Raiders surrounded their quarterback with talent everywhere wideout, a top wideout never materialized. Fans and defenders in the media latched on the narrative as a way of excusing zero playoff wins and only two appearances during Carr’s tenure. For Carr, the pressure intensifies exponentially. You just know that he campaigned for the Adams trade. Now, people will be less interested in what he says and more of what he does between the lines. No more ” it’s on me” soliloquies in press conferences.
Anything Is Truly Possible
Outside of blind wishing, raise your hand if you always believed that Davante Adams would wind up in Las Vegas. Now, answer the question truthfully. By the time most of America started dinner, the Raiders evolved from probable playoff bubble team to expected annual participant. The days of being happy just to appear in the playoffs dissipated when Adams’ plane went wheels down at McCarran International Airport. Critics will scoff at the notion of a single player, a non-quarterback, serving as a catalyst for an entire change of culture. Yet, Adams not only gives the Raiders a talent on the outside but installs credibility into what the braintrust hopes to accomplish. The mere trade for Adams shows a heretofore unseen intelligent aggressiveness displayed by the decision-makers.
What Adams Offers
Beyond gaudy numbers that continue to rise, Adams brings an array of gifts. First, his routes always look crisp, gaining separation with precise footwork, stride, and spacing of his patterns. Next, catching the ball at a 66-percent clip for his career shows the ability to make catches at all angles and situations. In the last four seasons, Adams tallied fifteen dropped passes in 614 targets. Additionally, Adams plays with excellent football speed. Remember all of those 40 times people drooled over at the Combine? Adams remains head and shoulders a better threat to score than any of those players. With football speed, he can streak away from corners with footwork and not otherworldly acceleration. Proof positive why you cannot predict playmaking by a stopwatch.
Imagine a world where Darren Waller can operate down the seam without double coverage. You can’t. Since his ascent into the top tier of tight ends, Waller routinely could look past the defender guarding him and see help over the top. Now, with Adams on the outside, defenses will need to pick their proverbial poison. Where you will see a change in Waller’s game will be the yards per reception.
Ep 100: Divisional Round Preview: Who Is Headed To Championship Sunday?
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Everyone Should Eat
Granted, with so many hungry talents on the offense, targets will drop. However, the explosive plays should rise. Similarly, Hunter Renfrow will see an uptick in yards per receipt. He won’t scrape anywhere near fifteen, but thirteen could be an actuality. Meanwhile, Bryan Edwards can continue to evolve his game as the third receiver. Yet, one player that could benefit will be Foster Moreau. As we all know, Josh McDaniels cherishes multiple tight ends. Look for Moreau to benefit from space.
Not The Patriot Way
For the entirety of the Patriots’ dynasty, that organization refrained from trading for big-name, big-ticket players. With the exception of fleecing the Raiders for Randy Moss, the Pats would smartly pick and choose their targets and wait for other teams to spend. Apparently, Dave Ziegler does not buy into that. After the initial quiet period, the Raiders added top-tier talent, showing no reticence to spend money and move players/draft capital. Between Chandler Jones and Davante Adams, the Raiders invested almost 200 million dollars in contracts. Somewhere, Al Davis is smiling and clapping. Instead of lamenting what could be, Ziegler attempts to figure out what it takes to make things happen. Jon Gruden spoke out returning to the Raider way. On the other hand, Ziegler, by way of this trade embodied the ” taking what the team wants” motto.
With that contract, the media and fans alike demand results. Adams needs to post All-Pro numbers annually. Barring injury, there is no room for letdowns or disappointment. Playing in the AFC West will test him. With the Packers, they pretty much controlled the NFC North for the majority of his career. Now, he finds himself in a division with three other great offenses, with three sets of pass rushers that want to disrupt his rhythm. The Raiders could conceivably finish .500 or slightly worst in their division and still make the playoffs. Those six division games for Adams will be the most important he will play during the regular season. Traveling to Denver and Kansas City will be more of a challenge than a carefree weekend in Detroit and Chicago.
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Not Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood
If you hear a segment of the sodium-overloaded Packers fans, Adams chose the money. Well, yes, anyone who willingly chooses against 141 million dollars is not very bright. Furthermore, the whispers of him failing without Aaron Rodgers grew into screams of desperation and hurt feelings. Without a doubt, Aaron Rodgers is an elite, generational quarterback. Yet, Davante Adams created space for himself and caught those seventy-three touchdowns. The roles reversed for him. In Green Bay, Rodgers needed to save the day. Now, in Las Vegas, Adams holds the mantle of responsibility.
A New Era
For the first time in what feels like an eternity, the stench of the Gruden area melted away. Like Febreze in a musty room, Davante Adams brings the fresh air of optimism to a beleaguered fanbase that sorely needed it. More importantly, a franchise that lacked any semblance of competent management or direction, now appears to have a clue.
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