What to Expect From WR Davante Adams in a Contract Year

Ted Thompson has invested more high-end draft picks at wide receiver than any other position. The second round of the draft gave Aaron Rodgers weapons like Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and most recently, Davante Adams.

Adams is entering his fourth NFL season in 2017, and is scheduled to be a free agent this upcoming offseason. Outside of safety Morgan Burnett, Adams may be the Packers’ top 2018 free agent.

The Fresno State product has had an up-and-down career. He flashed during his rookie year, making key contributions during the Packers’ 2014 playoff run. Injuries dampened his star during his second campaign, limiting his availability.

Before 2016, Davante Adams had only caught four touchdown passes over two years. This past year, he more than tripled his career totals with 12 scoring grabs.

What can Packers fans expect from the fourth-year receiver in a contract year? Here’s what Jon and Gary have to say.

Jon says: More of the same (which is fine!)

I think two things are true: Davante Adams was very good in 2016 and he’s unlikely to get much better, even if he gets a “contract year” bump.

First, about 2016. Adams put his dreadful 2015 campaign behind him and responded with career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He also increased his catch rate to 62.3%, a significant jump even over his rookie season. This is all great news for Adams, and bodes well for his future, no matter what his stats look like.

That leads me to why he’s unlikely to get much better. As I mentioned, Adams made a significant jump in his catch rate, which measures how likely a player is to catch a ball thrown his way. At 62.3%, Adams achieved more or less the same rate you would expect from elite to very good receivers around the league.

It seems unlikely, therefore, that Adams is going to dramatically improve that part of his game. Assuming all other factors are equal, though, we can probably expect Adams to have a similar output in 2017 to what we saw in 2016, even if his volume numbers don’t end up quite the same.

Gary says: New tight ends, receivers and running backs may limit his production

A brief look at targets reveals Davante Adams leapfrogged Randall Cobb last season and became the Packers’ number two wide receiver. While Jordy Nelson led the way with 155 targets from Aaron Rodgers, Adams finished second with 133 and Cobb third with 91.

It’s likely Adams will see his targets decline in 2017 thanks to the continued emergence of the running game and the free agent acquisitions at tight end. Jared Cook’s postseason was brilliant, but injuries limited Cook to only five starts in the regular season. With Richard Rodgers’ role in the offense diminished last season, Adams was the benefactor of those targets.

Between new tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, rookie receivers DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre, and the stable of rookie running backs, Adams will likely see fewer opportunities to thrive. Though Adams may have a better year from a technical perspective – crisper routes, fewer drops – he’s fighting for targets against better players than last year.