Saturday, May 18, 2024

Davante Adams on Packers’ Jordan Love’s growth: ‘That boy kind of balling right now’

All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams faced a career-defining decision during the 2022 offseason after the Green Bay Packers, his football home of eight seasons (2014-2021), franchise tagged him. 

He was weighing signing a new, long-term deal with the Packers, but without the commitment from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had just won back-to-back NFL MVPs in 2020 and 2021, Adams opted to ask for a reunion with his best friend from college at Fresno State, Derek Carr, by asking for a trade to the Raiders. The Packers granted his wish by flipping him in exchange for Vegas’ 2022 first and second-round picks, and Adams then signed a five-year, $140 million contract. 

However, Carr was only around to play with Adams for one season, a year in which he led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns but the Raiders went 6-11 and missed the postseason. Vegas then released Carr and opted to sign former 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023. He ended up getting benched for rookie fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell and was cut this offseason. Vegas’ only notable quarterback move since has been to sign journeyman Gardner Minshew to a two-year, $25 million deal. 

Meanwhile in Green Bay, Love played like a franchise quarterback last season: his 32 regular season touchdown passes were the second-most in the NFL, and he helped lead the seventh-seeded Packers to a 48-32 blowout playoff road win over the second-seeded Dallas Cowboys. Love broke the Packers’ single-game playoff passer rating (157.2) and passing yards per attempt (13) records while passing for 272 yards and three touchdowns as he completed 16 of his 21 passes. He nearly led another upset the following week against the eventual NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in a 24-21 defeat in the NFC Divisional round. 

“At the time when I was there [in Green Bay], I hadn’t seen enough [of Love], to say for sure ‘this is what I should do [stay with the Packers],'” Adams said on “The Rush Podcast” with Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby on Tuesday. “In hindsight, like we talked about, the kid [Love] is a f—ing baller, man. I’m so happy for him. I haven’t had the chance to truly sit down and talk with him, but I want to tell him at some point ‘I definitely don’t regret changing [teams], but I’m super proud of what you’ve done. If there was a way I could pull you over here and drag you with me that would have been cool too because we saw what he did at the end of the year [throw 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions in his last 10 games including the playoffs]. I don’t regret what I did [demand a trade to the Raiders], but at the same time you look back on it like ‘damn that boy kind of balling right now.'”

When asked if Love could “be the next one” or be the next Packers franchise quarterback, Adams believes Green Bay and the football world already has their answer to that question. Love is one of five players in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards (4,159) and more than 30 passing touchdowns (32) in their first season as a full-time NFL starting quarterback, also joining Hall of Hamer Kurt Warner (1999), Patrick Mahomes (2018), Justin Herbert (2020) and Brock Purdy (2023)

“I think he is. I think he has shown that,” Adams said. “He is starting to come into his own. You can see the way he is talking in front of media and everything. It’s like a whole different person than what I saw when I was there. That comes with experience.”

Now Adams is experiencing what it is like to be without a high-caliber quarterback for the first time in his career with the Raiders while the Packers haven’t experienced that feeling since 1991, the season before Brett Favre arrived in Green Bay. 

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