Green Bay Packers

Keeping Davante Adams Will Give the Special Teams Time To Grow

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker (USA TODAY Sports)

The looming offseason of uncertainty remains for Brian Gutekunst and the Green Bay Packers. Gutekunst has done the lord’s work thus far, narrowly tiptoeing the limits of the salary cap while assembling a roster that can (and should) be in contention for a Super Bowl title each of his years in office. The quality of his work cannot be understated.

However, the reality of the NFL and football as a sport is anything but fair. Certain positions are invariably more valuable than others. The quarterback position is obviously the most valuable, and then transcendent skill position players also hold significant weight in the eyes of the public.

That concept translates to the game of football as well. High-usage skill position players, if good enough, can mask many other roster issues that may otherwise be plaguing a team. These are the players that are, colloquially, “putting the team on their back.

Players like this are vital to the sustained success of franchises severely lacking in other aspects of the team’s construction. The bias for these “game changers” tends to ebb towards the offensive side of the ball, as those players can put enough points on the board to win in even the most extenuating of circumstances.

Because of this, Green Bay absolutely cannot afford to let Davante Adams walk.

The prospect of Aaron Rodgers ending his Packers career magnifies the degree to which it is necessary to keep Adams around. Regardless of who is under center, the quarterback must have a proven weapon that he can reliably throw to.

As for what Adams helps mask, the most obvious deficiency is the special teams. It wound up killing Green Bay in the end. However, that disaster was not as much of an issue to the casual eye because Adams and the rest of the offense consistently put points on the board. Adams had almost 30% of the team’s total targets in the 2021 season and had three times as many receiving yards (1,553) as the next closest player (Allen Lazard, 513).

That type of production and efficiency is not something that the next man up sentiment can match. It is no guarantee that hiring Rich Bisaccia as special teams coordinator will fix everything for the Packers, so the team needs to make sure it can keep its foot on the gas offensively. Adams plays a significant role in that department.

We have seen other teams take this same approach to team-building and see success. Look no further than the Cincinnati Bengals, who pundits blasted for taking Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell in last year’s draft. Before you hit me with the memes, it is important to acknowledge that Cincy would not have sniffed the Super Bowl, let alone an AFC Championship game, without Chase’s dynamic play on offense.

The comparison to the Bengals is a little flawed. It is easier to draw parallels to how a dynamic receiver can hide a swiss-cheese offensive line for large parts of a game. However, it is also true that a dynamic offense can mask a subpar defense in general. It is not irrational to apply this thought to a special teams unit that acted as an active detriment to a solid defensive unit in 2021.

Given that he recently broke up with Shailene Woodley, it isn’t unrealistic to think that Rodgers will be back in 2022. Suppose Gutekunst can work his magic to keep Adams around another couple of years. In that case, it will go a long way in allowing the special teams unit to develop some cohesion and NFL-level performances. Last year’s unit didn’t cut it. But if this team can stay together and develop as a 53-man unit, it will be back in Super Bowl contention once again.

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