Despite trading away All-Pro receiver Davante Adams and opting not to draft a wide receiver with their two first-round picks, the Green Bay Packers don't have to worry about a perturbed Aaron Rodgers this time around. The QB is keeping this offseason in perspective.
"It's a tough business, it's a wonderful profession. Those of us who have been _able] to play for so long realize that completely," Rodgers said on the Pat McAfee Show during the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night of Adams leaving for Las Vegas, [per ESPN_. "There's a lot of things that happen that surprise you, even still. I thought that based on the number that we offered Davante and being able to play with me for a few more years would make a difference, but in the end I think he was ready to move on and wanted my help in making that happen.
"It was a tough position to be in, for sure, because I love him and I care about him and I want him to be happy, and he's definitely going to be missed."
Rodgers' first extended comments about Adams come more than a month after Green Bay shipped the QB's WR1 to the Raiders for the No. 22 and No. 53 picks in this year's draft; the Packers used the 22nd selection to add Georgia linebacker Quay Walker instead of a potential Adams replacement at wideout (more on that later).
The quarterback admitted to McAfee that Green Bay cutting ties with Adams did shock him, noting that when he re-signed with the Packers on an extension worth $150.8 million over the next three seasons, Rodgers thought he'd have the wideout by his side.
"It was a little surprising with Davante -- obviously when I made my decision, I was still thinking he was going to come back," Rodgers said. "I was very honest with him about my plans and my future and where I saw my career going, as far as how many years I want to play. But I felt like he was going to be back, didn't obviously turn out that way but I have so much love for 'Tae and appreciate the time we spent together and definitely wish him the best [with] Derek [Carr] in Vegas. But that's a big hole to fill."
Like Rodgers, Adams got his money, signing a five-year, $141.25 million deal with Las Vegas. The WR had reportedly been offered more to stay in Green Bay but wanted to play for the Silver and Black.
Who will play with Rodgers in Green Bay? The Packers lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown in addition to Adams this offseason, but currently count Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers and Juwann Winfree among its pass catchers. In short, his receiving corps is a work in progress.
Notably, it does not include a 2022 first-round pick. The Packers opted to take Walker at No. 22 and fellow Bulldog Devonte Wyatt at No. 28, bolstering a defense that lost Za'Darius Smith to the rival Vikings this offseason. In fact, Green Bay has not taken a WR in the first round since Javon Walker in 2002.
Unlike in past years, when Rodgers was taken aback by Green Bay's decisions in the first round (i.e. Jordan Love in 2020), the quarterback said he knew what was (and wasn't) coming this time around and expects the Packers to remain active in search of a WR.
"I'm sure Packer nation will be wondering why we didn't take a receiver or trade up," Rodgers said, "but at this point, you've just got to have some faith in the organization and faith that whoever we bring in tomorrow and the rest of this draft, I'm going to put in the time to make it work with those guys and we're going to find a way in Matt (LaFleur)'s offense to be successful -- like we always have.
"It's not going to be any different this year, we're going to be in the mix."
The Packers have nine picks remaining in the draft, including three (Nos. 53, 59, 92) on Friday.