Someone save Davante Adams from himself

The Raiders' WR says he's happy in Vegas, but don't be fooled: Adams needs a franchise quarterback

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Davante Adams has always been the anti-diva receiver. His contract dispute with the Green Bay Packers was relatively low-key, and he’s rarely spoken negatively of his ex-franchise. Adams’ reunion with his college quarterback Derek Carr ended in a powder keg. While speculation about Carr’s future and the Raiders’ prospects for a quarterback in 2023 began almost immediately, it took over a week for Adams to address his own plans.

He’s got a $140 million deal to keep him content, but less than half of it is guaranteed and the two exorbitant contract years left on his deal aren’t until 2025 and 2026. On the field though, Adams will have to endure the type of losing he was unfamiliar with prior to this season. Adams responded to questions about his status.

Does Adams want to remain a Raider?

“Yeah, absolutely, I wouldn’t have been here or ended up here, originally, probably if Derek wasn’t here,” Adams explained in his weekly media conference. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be here in the event that he’s not here. That’s my boy. Obviously, I’ve got his back through anything. I think I’ve made that more than clear at this point. I support him and I support everything that he has moving forward as well. But my dream was to play for this team before he was a Raider, and at this point I want to try to make this thing work and continue on doing what I’m doing here, myself get better and see the team grow and get better as well.”

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That’s some quality spin. I get that he wants to say the right thing, but caping for a bad organization doesn’t earn him any Hall of Fame points. Make no mistake, Adams is a Hall of Fame talent, but his resume will be incomplete if he rests on his laurels into his mid-30s without a quarterback.

This season, Adams hauled in 95 balls for a franchise-record 1,443 yards, but the proverbial tree falling in the forest was drowned out by the Carr drama and Josh McDaniels getting outcoached by Kliff Kingsbury and Jeff Saturday.

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The loyalty is commendable, but it’s a one-way street that certain athletes never seem to internalize. It’s befitting of Adams, who was lightly recruited out of high school in Palo Alto, Adams was raised a Raiders fan, but we gotta save him from himself.

Instead of asking who’s going to be the Raiders’ next starting quarterback, we need to be addressing who’ll be Adams’ quarterback next season. Is he genuinely prepared for the class of Zach Wilsons who will be lining up to earn the Raiders’ starting gig?

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Who will be the Raiders’ next QB?

There is a slew of available quarterbacks who will be discussed as alternatives to Carr. Jarrett Stidham is a parabolic arc of potential that is going to return to his downward slope soon. Jimmy G is perpetually teetering on the pass-fail line as the contemporary Mendoza Line for quarterbacks. Maybe Adams is content to catch endless lobs from Gardner Minshew while being the vassal of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in the same division.

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Maybe Adams is content to watch those two VIPs walk on a red carpet over the Raiders for the foreseeable future, but that will get old fast. We saw what he could do with Aaron Rodgers as his equal. In three campaigns, Adams eclipsed 1,300 yards and in his final go-round gained 1,500 yards. Unfortunately, Super Bowl glory eluded him.

A messy quarterback situation rendered Odell Beckham Jr. a peripheral ornament on the Cleveland Browns’ payroll. Josh Jacobs is hip to the game and likely headed for fresher pastures after the season. The Ravens could use a legitimate No. 1 receiver to assuage Lamar Jackson. Anyone with doubts can look at what Tyreek Hill has done for Tua Tagovailoa’s stock in Miami or Justin Jefferson for Kirk Cousins for the effect that could have on their collective trajectories. Jackson is twice the quarterback both of those are. Trevor Lawrence is on the rise in Jacksonville, which overpaid for Christian Kirk during the offseason.

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The possibilities are endless for Adams if he connects with a bonafide franchise quarterback. Otherwise, he may end his twilight years as a Julio Jones-type figure latching onto contenders like Tennessee and Tampa Bay in pursuit of relevancy. Unless Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or some disgruntled quarterback wanders into Vegas on a bender and accidentally winds up on the roster, the next few years will get very unpleasant for Adams.