Aaron Rodgers

Davante Adams Notes: Packers Departure, Carr, Rodgers

Davante Adams has been at the center of trade speculation throughout the offseason, although he and his agents have attempted to shoot down further rumors on that front. More has nevertheless recently been learned about the All-Pro Raiders wideout, including his arrival in Vegas and his outlook on a hypothetical trade to a third career team.

During an appearance on Keyshawn Johnson’s All Facts No Brakes podcast, Adams touched on the lead-up to his Packers departure (video link). He said he approached Green Bay’s front office about working out an extension in the 2022 offseason as he was approaching his walk year. Uncertainty loomed over Aaron Rodgers‘ future with the franchise, but Adams was prepared to sign a long-term deal regardless.

The 31-year-old said he received an offer averaging $17MM per season – a figure notably below market value for the league’s top receivers, especially in the wake of the commitments made at the position over the past two seasons. Adams replied there was “nothing to talk about” after that point, and in March he was traded to the Raiders. That deal allowed him to reunite with former college teammate Derek Carr.

Adams confirmed during an episode of Netflix’s Receiver series (via Vic Tafur of The Athletic) Carr’s presence was a central element in his desire to play for the Raiders. Of course, the veteran passer only remained in Vegas for 2022 before being released and joining the Saints in free agency. Jimmy Garoppolo served as the Raiders’ starter last year before dealing with injuries and being benched – something Adams approved of and tied his future in the organization to.

Vegas decision-makers have repeatedly made it clear no Adams trade is being considered at this time, but Rodgers’ recent comment about anticipating a reunion has led to renewed questions. The former doubled down on his commitment to Vegas while also acknowledging a trade could send him out of Sin City. In the event that were to take place, Adams would welcome the opportunity to resume playing with Rodgers.

“I’m locked in with the Raiders, and I really feel good about this team, and as far as I know they feel good about me,” the six-time Pro Bowler told Shannon Sharpe on his Club Shay podcast (video link). “If that ever changes, if that got to a point where they weren’t feeling the same way, I ain’t done playing, so obviously we would figure out whatever we needed to figure out.”

Adams added, “if I’m gonna be reunited with anybody, it would be Aaron,” confirming he would be open to playing on the Jets in the future (while repeating that it is not a scenario he currently desires). Three years remain on Adams’ contract, but an adjustment will likely be needed after the 2024 campaign given his projected cap hits and the absence of guaranteed salaries in 2025 and ’26. Plenty could change by that point, but for now he is set to play a third Raiders campaign.

NFL Active Leaders In Career Earnings

Kirk Cousins‘ four-year, $180MM deal with the Falcons this season vaulted him up the list of active career earners. This was by virtue of his $50MM signing bonus, adding to the more than $231MM he earned from the Commanders and (mostly) the Vikings throughout his career. Even under the worst-case scenario, Cousins will still see at least another $50MM come his way via his contract with Atlanta, which would push his career earnings north of $331MM.

While the soon-to-be 36-year-old Cousins will surely see a significant portion of the $80MM worth of unguaranteed money on his contract, he’ll still be hard pressed to catch Aaron Rodgers on the career-earnings list. Rodgers earned more than $306MM during his long tenure in Green Bay, and he’s already made close to $37MM during his one season in New York (mostly via the $35MM signing bonus on his reworked pact).

With at least $40MM of additional guarantees coming his way from the Jets, Rodgers will continue to grow his lead as the highest-earning NFL player of all time. Both Rodgers and Matthew Stafford were able to leap Tom Brady among the NFL’s highest all-time earners over the past year.

With all that said, we’ve listed the 25 active players who have earned the most money in their NFL careers (h/t to OverTheCap.com). While this list is up to date, it doesn’t account for soon-to-realized salaries for the 2024 campaign. This list is also solely focused on NFL cash and does not include off-the-field earnings:

  1. QB Aaron Rodgers: $343MM
  2. QB Matthew Stafford: $328MM
  3. QB Russell Wilson: $305MM
  4. QB Kirk Cousins: $281MM
  5. QB Jared Goff: $234MM
  6. LB Von Miller: $179MM
  7. QB Joe Flacco: $177MM
  8. OT Trent Williams: $171MM
  9. QB Derek Carr: $165MM
  10. LB Khalil Mack: $162MM
  11. QB Dak Prescott: $161MM
  12. DL Aaron Donald: $157MM
  13. QB Jimmy Garoppolo: $150MM
  14. DE Calais Campbell: $143MM
  15. QB Deshaun Watson: $142MM
  16. QB Patrick Mahomes: $136MM
  17. DE Joey Bosa: $134MM
  18. DL Leonard Williams: $134MM
  19. WR Mike Evans: $132MM
  20. QB Carson Wentz: $130MM
  21. WR DeAndre Hopkins: $128MM
  22. WR Stefon Diggs: $126MM
  23. DE Cameron Jordan: $126MM
  24. OT Lane Johnson: $121MM
  25. DT Chris Jones: $120MM

Aaron Rodgers On Davante Adams: ‘I Can’t Wait To Play With Him Again’

Davante Adams has been with the Raiders for two seasons, but since the departure of Derek Carr his short- and long-term future has been the subject of considerable speculation. Adams has been floated as a candidate to find his way to the Jets in a reunion with Aaron Rodgers, something the latter recently alluded to.

When asked by Vegas Sports Today about new Raiders offensive coordinator (and former Packers quarterbacks coach) Luke Getsy, Rodgers offered praise for the staffer. He followed that up, however, by saying of Adams that he “can’t wait to play with him again” (video link). That comment comes shortly after the All-Pro wideout confirmed Rodgers has frequently been in contact on the subject of joining forces in New York.

Adams, 31, attempted to shoot down further speculation on that front by reiterating his commitment to the Raiders. He was one of several core players who advocated for Vegas to retain head coach Antonio Pierce on a full-time basis, and doing so has sat well with Adams and Co. The Raiders went 5-4 under Pierce to close out 2023, and repeating that (relative) success this season would bode well for his job security as well as Adams’ desire to remain in place for years to come.

The six-time Pro Bowler is under contract through 2026, but the final two years of his contract call for sizable jumps in annual compensation ($36.25MM) and cap hits ($44.1MM). None of Adams’ base salaries for the 2025 or ’26 seasons are guaranteed, something which could fuel new questions about his Raiders tenure particularly if the team were to struggle early this fall. Both general manager Tom Telesco and owner Mark Davis have made assurances Adams remains in the team’s plans, but renewed trade interest from the Jets could be seen down the road.

New York pursued Adams (among other wideouts) leading up to the 2023 trade deadline, and further interest would come as no surprise. The Jets are believed to have had Adams on their radar since acquiring Rodgers, a logical development given their success in Green Bay. The pair spent eight seasons together with the Packers, and expectations would be high for them if a reunion ever were to take place.

A blockbuster trade sending Adams to New York does not appear to be on tap from his perspective or that of the Raiders. Considering Rodgers’ sway in the Jets’ decision-making, though, his input on the matter could keep this story alive for at least the time being.

Davante Adams Committed To Raiders, Discusses Aaron Rodgers Pairing

Things haven’t necessarily gone as planned for Davante Adams in Las Vegas. The wideout pushed his way out of Green Bay and landed with the Raiders and his college QB, Derek Carr. That QB/WR tandem only lasted one season, with the Josh McDanielsDave Ziegler regime shaking up the quarterback position ahead of the 2023 campaign.

[RELATED: Offseason In Review: Las Vegas Raiders]

Adams hinted at some frustration before the Raiders ditched that head coach/GM duo, but the receiver admitted that interim-turned-full-time head coach Antonio Pierce is a big reason why he’s content ahead of the 2024 season.

“I wouldn’t be feeling as good as I do now,” Adams said of Pierce’s promotion during an appearance on “Up & Adams Show with Kay Adams” (via NFL.com’s Nick Shook). “That’s for sure. He’s the type of guy that I really enjoy speaking to, working with, so I basically tried to do everything that I could to make it to where the front office didn’t have any other choice.”

Pierce guided the Raiders to a 5-4 record after McDaniels was canned, a performance that helped earn him a promotion to the full-time gig. While there’s still uncertainty at the quarterback position, Adams is committed to the Raiders…and he’s denying inquiries from some of his former teammates. Specifically, Adams admitted that Aaron Rodgers has been “in that ear” since the quarterback moved to the Jets.

“It’s not as easy as — obviously we can get together and talk about the old times and potential of doing this and that, but like I said I’m a Raider, and he knows that,” Adams said. “Maybe in the next lifetime.”

Adams also said he’s heard from former teammate Josh Jacobs, who joined the wideout’s former squad in Green Bay this offseason.

“I told him you go ahead and hold it down,” Adams said. “I’m gonna hold it down over here. I don’t think I’ll be coming back over there. Never know what’s gonna happen. If they ship me off, there’s not much I can do about it, but I’m a Raider. So nobody got to worry about that.”

Despite the management changes, the Raiders quickly quieted trade chatter this offseason, with both Pierce and new GM Tom Telesco (along with owner Mark Davis) expressing interest in keeping Adams around long-term. The wideout is attached to massive $44MM cap hits in both 2025 and 2026, but the Raiders could get out of the deal next offseason with only a temporary dead cap hit of $15.7MM. While both sides are currently saying all the right things, Adams’ future in Las Vegas will still be worth watching over the next year.

Latest On Jets, QB Aaron Rodgers

Absent for a key part of his team’s offseason program for a third time in four years, Aaron Rodgers showed for Jets voluntary work before being conspicuously absent at minicamp. The Jets deemed their quarterback’s minicamp no-show unexcused, creating a slew of headlines.

While this may not matter too much in the grand scheme, the unexcused nature of the absence — as well as the message it sends to the team — has caused issues from a perception standpoint. The Jets are attempting to downplay them, however, and SNY’s Connor Hughes is now confirming where Rodgers was during minicamp.

The future Hall of Famer took a trip to Egypt, having scheduled it during his rehab from Achilles surgery. Rodgers made the Jets aware of his plans after he discovered Africa excursion overlapped with minicamp, Hughes adds. The Jets are not concerned with their franchise centerpiece’s absence at the mandatory workout, which came as Haason Reddick skipped amid a contract holdout.

The team having, per Hughes, “zero concern” about Rodgers’ mid-June whereabouts aside, it is unusual the 20th-year veteran would schedule a trip at a point when minicamps are regularly on the docket. Minicamps generally occur during the first and second weeks of June. Players, coaches and staffers use late June and most of July for vacationing purposes. That has become a key topic as the NFLPA prepares to unveil a polarizing proposal that would reshape the offseason program. Multiple players also told Hughes they were not concerned about Rodgers not showing for the offseason’s lone mandatory portion.

Gang Green’s reasoning behind designating the absence as unexcused predictably centers on not wanting to set a precedent, per Hughes, of allowing players to skip mandatory workouts for pre-planned trips. Although being in position to execute this plan would stand to require a lofty stature within the game, the 40-year-old passer doing so created an unusual storyline for the Jets — one that will continue once Rodgers is required to speak to media members at training camp.

Rodgers knowing Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense and spending last summer and this spring developing a rapport with the likes of Garrett Wilson and Tyler Conklin make his minicamp absence a midlevel storyline; the Jets are attempting to spin it as a nonstory. But it will be a bullet point as Rodgers’ Jets career is discussed.

Rodgers criticized the Jets late last year, citing a poor culture as the reason for leaks coming out of the team’s building. He then famously issued a plea to his team to avoid distractions. Rodgers, of course, has created many of those since being traded to New York. A January report later detailed Rodgers’ outsized influence with the team. This latest distraction could be minimized if the four-time MVP bounces back and leads the Jets to ending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought. Not reestablishing quality form after the Achilles injury and an underwhelming 2022 season would open the door to this storyline lingering.

Latest On Jets, QB Aaron Rodgers

JUNE 17: Rodgers and the Jets were in agreement with the decision to classify his minicamp absence as unexcused, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated notes. New York elected not to move the date of minicamp up one week, he adds, given the effects such a decision would have had on several other players. After a brief spell with Taylor guiding the first-team offense, Rodgers will be back in place for training camp.

JUNE 12: Haason Reddick‘s pursuit of a new contract qualifies as the top issue coming out of the Jets’ minicamp, but the team conspicuously does not have its future Hall of Fame quarterback on-hand for its mandatory June workouts.

Aaron Rodgers did not show for Tuesday’s minicamp opener, and The Athletic’s Dianna Russini notes the second-year Jets QB will not take part in any of the team’s workouts this week. While Tyrod Taylor seeing more reps with his new team stands to be important given how last season went for the Jets, Rodgers making a point to urge the Jets to avoid distractions and then ending his offseason this way has naturally generated questions.

[RELATED: Jets Not Closing Door On Haason Reddick Extension]

It is not known where Rodgers is this week. The 20th-year passer reported for the Jets’ media day Monday and took a mandatory physical, per ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini, before leaving town. Rodgers had planned this trip during his rehab work, according to SNY’s Connor Hughes, who adds the Jets are not concerned about their QB’s absence.

Rodgers, 40, participated in the Jets’ voluntary workouts this offseason. He has also been in the team’s Nathaniel Hackett-guided offense for two years now. Rodgers also has a recent history of not showing for his team’s minicamp.

Most recently, he did so in 2021 during a months-long standoff with the Packers themed around a trade request. The parties agreed to a truce of sorts ahead of training camp. The 18-year Packer, however, did not show for his former team’s voluntary workouts in 2022. This became an issue for Green Bay, which was breaking in a few rookie wide receivers that offseason. Though, Rodgers reported for Green Bay’s mandatory minicamp that year. He was at Jets minicamp in 2023. It should be noted Rodgers won his fourth MVP award after the 2021 standoff, though his performance dipped — as the Packers moved on from Davante Adams — in 2022.

Coming off an Achilles tear sustained four plays into last season, Rodgers has acknowledged the pressure the Jets face this year. Ownership signed off on mulligans for Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas, but it is widely believed the HC-GM combo is on the hot seat. The QB’s whereabouts should become known at some point, and while the Jets are downplaying the matter, this certainly represents an unusual ending to an offseason program. Rodgers has been full-go during the team’s offseason program and will continue building toward a full-fledged comeback when training camp begins.

Haason Reddick, Aaron Rodgers Absent From Jets’ Minicamp

Haason Reddick remained away from the Jets during the voluntary portion of offseason workouts. The Pro Bowl edge rusher was expected to be present during his new team’s minicamp, but that has not turned out to be the case.

Reddick is not in attendance for the opening of New York’s minicamp, SNY’s Connor Hughes reports. Head coach Robert Saleh has since confirmed the news, adding (via Brian Costello of the New York Post) that he and Reddick spoke this weekend. Saleh had publicly expressed his expectation that the offseason trade acquisition would attend minicamp, making today’s news a surprise.

By virtue of missing out on OTAs, Reddick lost out on a $250K workout bonus. He will now be subject to fines as a result of his decision not to attend minicamp, a strategy often employed by players seeking new deals. The 29-year-old falls squarely into that category, with one year remaining on his current pact. Reddick is due $14.5MM in 2024, a figure much lower than the top of the edge rush market.

Reddick thrived during his two-year run with the Eagles, racking up 27 sacks and a pair of Pro Bowl nods. He expressed a desire to remain in Philadelphia on a new deal, but with no agreement in place the team elected to move on. Reddick was dealt to the Jets after the Eagles signed Bryce Huff to serve as a replacement. That set up the coming season as a potential walk year, unless New York pursues a long-term extension.

The Jets are prepared to use Reddick as a three-down starter along the edge, something which was not the case with Huff. The former’s attendance at training camp will be worth watching if no resolution is reached on the contract front. After an offseason in which a number of edge rushers landed lucrative new deals, there are now 12 players at the position attached to an annual average value above $20MM, and Reddick could attempt to join that group.

Saleh also said on Tuesday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is away from the team for minicamp. Rodgers took part in voluntary workouts, but an engagement taking place this week will lead to an absence which Saleh indicated (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini) is unexcused. Both Rodgers and Reddick will therefore be subject to roughly $100K in fines which the team has the option of waiving.

AFC East Rumors: Patriots OL, Saleh, Milano

With veteran left tackle Trent Brown departing in free agency, the Patriots are looking to fill his old role this offseason. As organized team activities have opened, free agent addition Chukwuma Okorafor has been taking first-team snaps at the position, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

Okorafor, a former third-round pick for the Steelers, has spent the first six years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh. His first two seasons only saw the Nigerian find starting time as an injury replacement. After Okorafor finished out his rookie contract with two straight seasons as a starter, the Steelers rewarded him with a three-year, $29.25MM extension. After losing his starting job to first-round rookie Broderick Jones last year, though, the Steelers released Okorafor to free agency.

Now in New England, Okorafor will have the opportunity to re-earn a starting job and fill in for the departed Brown. Okorafor’s competition for the job will be Vederian Lowe, who started eight games in injury relief for the Patriots last year, and third-round rookie Caedan Wallace out of Penn State.

In additional offensive line news out of New England OTAs, second-year lineman Atonio Mafi was seen taking snaps at center behind starter David Andrews. Mafi, a former fifth-round pick who converted from defensive line to guard at UCLA, had yet to seen time at center while making five starts at left guard as a rookie. New offensive line coach Scott Peters and assistant offensive line coach Robert Kugler seem to have some interest in expanding his role on the line.

Here are some other rumors coming out of the AFC East:

  • We had reported previously that Jets head coach Robert Saleh had explored the idea of reducing the role of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. This exploration came after the seeing Hackett seemingly lost for options after the loss of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers early in the season. A more recent report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini claims that Saleh is now taking a deeper role in the offense himself. The former defensive coordinator seems to be keeping a close eye over the shoulder of Hackett as their jobs both heat up in 2024.
  • Long-time Bills starting linebacker Matt Milano missed 12 games after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. The team is looking to pair Milano back up with last year’s emergent starter Terrel Bernard, but that won’t be happening in OTAs. According to Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN, Milano is on schedule with his recovery, but “it’s probably going to be more closer to training camp until” he sees the field again.

Aaron Rodgers On Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett

Nathaniel Hackett is in place to reprise his role as offensive coordinator of the Jets in 2024. The maligned play-caller has been the subject of considerable speculation this offseason, though, with New York reportedly seeking out a de facto replacement.

Hackett had success alongside Aaron Rodgers as a non-play-calling offensive coordinator in Green Bay. He took his first head coaching opportunity with Denver in 2022, but that resulted in his firing before the campaign came to an end. The 44-year-old reunited with Rodgers in New York last season, but his performance guiding the Jets’ offense was met with criticism.

Head coach Robert Saleh was connected to exploring a hire to whom Hackett would cede at least some of his authority this winter, but to date no such move has been made. The latter feels he still has the support of the former, and that is also the case with respect to Rodgers. Healthy following his Week 1 Achilles tear, the future Hall of Famer provided a public endorsement of Hackett during an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio.

When asked by host Adam Schein why the Jets should trust Hackett, Rodgers replied, “Well, you should trust me and I trust Nathaniel. So, to me, that’s end of story. There’s been a lot of BS that’s been said out there. There’s a lot of things that have gone on the last couple years that he’s dealt with that I think he’s handled very professionally. And at the end of the day, I think you gotta trust his and my working relationship and the conversations that we have” (h/t ESPN’s Rich Cimini).

Saleh, Hackett and general manager Joe Douglas have faced questions about their job security, but the trio received a mulligan from owner Woody Johnson following a 2023 season in which Rodgers was sidelined for all but four snaps. The latter will be a central figure in New York’s ability to rebound this year, and Hackett too will receive plenty of attention as the season goes on. Cimini confirms the Jets sought out an experienced staffer, though he adds Hackett’s status as play-caller likely would have been safe in any case.

“We gotta believe in Nathaniel,” Rodgers added. “At the end of the day, his and my partnership is one that’s been fruitful in the past, and it’s gonna be fruitful again.”

Jets Made Effort To Hire De Facto OC To Oversee Nathaniel Hackett?

While woeful two-year coaching stretches have occurred throughout NFL history, Nathaniel Hackett is coming off a uniquely brutal period. The short-lived Broncos HC’s rebound effort fizzled four plays into last season, and although Aaron Rodgers‘ presence has effectively kept the embattled play-caller in place as Jets OC, the team does not appear pleased with its top offensive coach.

A report in January mentioned Robert Saleh exploring ways to strip some of Hackett’s authority, going so far as to say the fourth-year HC explored adding to his staff to limit his current OC’s power. It appears such an exploration did, in fact, occur. The Jets are believed to have pursued a hire that would have overseen Hackett on the offensive side, according to SNY’s Connor Hughes. No known hire has occurred at this point.

This shadowy search looks to have been aimed at an assistant HC-type hire, as opposed to a new OC. The latter effort would have required the Jets to comply with the Rooney Rule and dismiss Hackett, whom they hired largely to woo Rodgers in 2023. Unlike the Broncos, the Jets did manage — thanks to the Packers deeming Jordan Love ready to play by 2023 — to reunite Rodgers and Hackett. But the former ended up losing a season due to an Achilles tear. Rodgers’ repeated endorsements of Hackett have almost definitely kept the veteran coach employed.

The Jets actually making such a hire would have brought an extraordinary step, and it is interesting the team would even try this given the NFL’s OC landscape and this type of staff addition’s potential impact on Rodgers. The 20th-year QB certainly wields considerable power with the Jets. Among the 32 NFL teams, play-calling duties either run through a head coach or offensive coordinator. It is not certain the Jets were seeking a new play-caller, but it certainly sounds like they sought someone who could oversee Hackett on this front. With Saleh a defensive-minded HC, guardrails associated with Hackett are not in place.

If the Jets had truly made such an addition, it would have brought another ignominious chapter for a coach whose stock has tumbled since his Broncos stint. Beating out Dan Quinn for the Denver HC job in 2022, Hackett quickly proved overmatched. His bizarre decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal in his Broncos opener preceded a Week 2 game in which Denver fans counted down the play clock, as procedural penalties — or timeouts used to prevent them — piled up. This led to Broncos GM George Paton insisting Hackett hire a game management coach (Jerry Rosburg). A disjointed Broncos season still ensued, as the Hackett-Russell Wilson partnership dropped the team to 32nd in scoring offense. The Broncos made Hackett just the third post-merger HC to be fired before his first season ended.

Jets brass was not impressed with Hackett’s ability to adjust the offense to Zach Wilson last season, and the team’s 10 offensive TDs through 12 games marked the fewest any team had compiled since 2000. The Jets finished 29th in scoring and 31st in yardage last season, putting just about every key team decision-maker on thin ice.

Rodgers’ injury prompted ownership to give Saleh, Hackett and GM Joe Douglas a pass for 2023. It would seem Woody Johnson‘s patience will run out if the Jets extend their NFL-leading playoff drought to 14 seasons.

Saleh is among only six 21st-century HCs to retain his job after beginning a tenure with three sub-.500 seasons. Hackett, who operated as a non-play-calling OC in Green Bay for three years, will be counted on to maximize Rodgers’ age-40 season. Even when Rodgers was healthy last summer, Hughes adds the four-time MVP would repeatedly change a play Hackett called. With Rodgers being just about all that stands in the way of Hackett being axed, this will be an interesting partnership to follow as the Jets hope to justify the 2023 trade for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.