The shotgun marriage between the Raiders and Davante Adams seems to be following many of the unions consummated in Las Vegas' 50 wedding chapels.
Three weeks into the season, and many of the familiar woes that have plagued the Raiders in recent years have once again reared their ugly heads. This time, without Adams' chosen quarterback, Derek Carr — who was effectively banished late last season, at he helm.
With Carr in New Orleans, and Jimmy Garoppolo in the concussion protocol following Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders are one point against the Denver Broncos in Week 1 away from being 0-3 as September comes to a close.
Adams currently leads the Raiders with 322 receiving yards and three touchdown. But, if Las Vegas' slow start continues, Adams becomes the Raiders' most attractive trade asset, and it doesn't sound like he's in any mood to be part of some sort of dilapidated rebuild.
"I don't want to act like it's all crazy. It's Week 3, but I don't got time to wait around," Adams told reporters following Sunday night's loss. "It's not a personal thing; I mean it is a personal thing but it ain't just about me. It's not my mentality to take all season to try and figure it out. To use these early games like this to establish an identity and we're not doing things the right way to establish a winning culture early in the season. We gotta do something to turn that around"
If the Raiders do decide to move on, and trade Adams while absorbing a $7.85 million dead-money charge while creating $6.89 million in cap space, here are six possible destinations:
The Cowboys have built a dominant front-seven that's capable of stifling opposing offenses and changing the outcome of games, but, Dallas' offense is still searching for some sort of an identity around quarterback Dak Prescott.
Last season, it was easy to see the tangible impact of losing a deep-threat like Amari Cooper, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns during the preseason. Conversely, pairing Adams opposite CeeDee Lamb, who has caught 19 passes for 273 yards through the first three games of the season, would create one of the more prolific receiving duos in the league and throw open the playbook for Prescott and the rest of the offense.
Cincinnati might be a surprise to find on a list like this, especially given the long-term uncertainty surrounding Tee Higgins' future, but the Bengals have a legitimate Super Bowl window as long as Joe Burrow is behind center and adding Adams could potentially widen it.
The Bengals, even after making Burrow the highest-paid quarterback in league history, still have $12.16 million in cap space this season and $86.63 million in spending flexibility in 2024. So, there really aren't any financial hurdles to adding Adams to the fold. Moreover, it's difficult to imagine many secondaries being able to keep both Adams and Ja'Marr Chase under wraps. At least for the rest of this season, Chase, Adams, and Higgins would unquestionably be the most dynamic receiving corps in the league.
San Francisco 49ers
49ers general manager John Lynch hasn't been shy about adding marquee weapons, especially after trading for Christian McCaffrey prior to last year's trade deadline, and Adams would add yet another new wrinkle to Kyle Shanahan's offense.
Shanahan loves to deploy Deebo Samuel both in the intermediate passing game as well as a runner, Brandon Aiyuk does a tremendous job of creating separation, McCaffrey is as versatile and explosive a weapon through the air as he is a runner, and George Kittle is a matchup nightmare for for opposing linebackers and safeties. Giving Shanahan an additional chess piece like Adams to stretch the field will make the 49ers' offense even more taxing on opposing defensive coordinators and further buttress Brock Purdy as needing to do little more than manage the game with an abundance of game-changing weapons around him.
The Browns have gone all-in on quarterback DeShaun Watson, with inconsistent returns thus far, and must find a way to replace the production lost by running back Nick Chubb suffering a season-ending knee injury. Enter Adams, and a commitment to the vertical passing game.
Miami, with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Philadelphia with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and Seattle, with Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf have all shown the value in surrounding a quarterback with productive and prolific receiver duos. If the Browns want to elevate Watson and build an offense capable of keeping pace with the Dolphins, Chiefs, and Bills in the AFC, adding Adams would make a lot of sense.
Detroit has built a young and exciting core, and seems to have an opportunity to pick up the mantle of the NFC's 'next' legitimate contender. Dropping Adams into the Lions' receiving corps would create myriad opportunities for the weapons already in place around Jared Goff.
Yes, the Lions are getting former first-round talent Jameson Williams back, and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta is averaging 10.3 yards per reception, and is seemingly improving each week. But, There would be few secondaries in the league able to match up against Davante Adams, Amon-Ra St.Brown, Williams, and LaPorta, especially with a versatile running back such as rookie Jahmyr Gibbs coming out of the backfield. Adams would give the Lions' offense a similar feel with similar upside to what the 49ers have built.
Green Bay Packers
If Adams would accept returning to a situation with a young quarterback like Jordan Love in place, this would make for quite an exciting reunion.
Love's late-game heroics against Carr's Saints seem to entrench him as the Packers' future, and Adams would be joining an exciting receiving corps that is on a sharp upward trajectory. There would likely need to be some pride swallowed on both sides, but the Packers did offer Adams more total money than he wound up collecting from the Raiders prior to last spring's trade. An Adams return to TitleTown would elevate the Packers into the realm of legitimate contenders, especially as Love continues to develop.
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