Aaron Rodgers says Green Bay Packers trading Davante Adams ‘surprised’ him

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he was “surprised” by team trading former receiver Davante Adams this offseason, his first public comment since signing a three-year, $ 150 million extension and his trade of No. 1 wide receiver.

Speaking during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said he believed his return to the Packers would impact his ability to strike a deal with Adams and that he had communicated with the two-time All-Pro before returning.

“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 wanted to play. But I felt like he was going 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 in Derek [Carr] in Vegas. But that ‘sa big hole to fill. “

In March, Green Bay traded Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a 2022 first-round and second-round pick. The Raiders then signed him to a five-year, $ 141.25 million contract that reset the wide receiver market. His departure leaves the Packers’ wide receiver room thin – a situation exacerbated when Marquez Valdes-Scantling signed with the Kansas City Chiefs a week later.

Even with their extra first-round pick, the Packers didn’t select a receiver in this year’s draft, something they’ve never done in Rodgers’ 17-year career. He was not upset or certainly surprised by their decision, saying he had been communicating with the team throughout the night.

The three-time NFL MVP said teams have to exercise caution because there is “a lot of receiver busts in the first round.” He did call former Alabama receiver Jameson Williams the most “NFL ready” receiver in the draft, despite his recovery from a torn ACL; Williams was drafted by division rival Detroit at no. 12 overall.

With the top-six receivers off the board – Rodgers hinted that the Packers had only first-round grades on those six – general manager Brian Gutekunst went heavy on defense and heavy on the Georgia Bulldogs with linebacker Quay Walker at No. 22 and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt at no. 28.

Gutekunst said he explored the possibility of trading up to a receiver that he liked.

“There was a couple, there was a few,” Gutekunst said. “That run started early. They’re really good players. At the same time I think you’ve got to look at the asking price and does that make sense?”

Rodgers was on the air with McAfee when the Packers picked Wyatt, a player Rodgers said he knew the Packers were hoping to land. In fact, Rodgers spent a day at the team facility last week even though he hasn’t been there for offseason workouts. He and Gutekunst met at that point to discuss the state of the team. Meanwhile, during the draft, Gutekunst said coach Matt LaFleur was in an on-going text conversation with Rodgers.

“Aaron is unbelievable,” Gutekunst said. “Our communication, I mean where we were and where we are now, I would say night and day. I’m very appreciative of that. He was here for a week and we certainly spent some time talking about our team and kinda where we thought we might be heading and some of the things we might want to do moving forward.

“That input, that conversation is always welcome and certainly valuable to me. But when I get into this process along with our scouts, we’re pretty tunnel vision, but like I said, there was a lot of texting going on to me next. . “

Gutekunst said he wouldn’t force a receiver pick on Friday when he had two second-round picks (Nos. 53 and 59) and a third-rounder (92).

“I don’t think we have to,” he said. “I think there’s some really good receivers left in this draft and we’ll kind of see how it plays out. We’ve got nine picks left, so we’ve got a lot of ammunition. Whether we stick and pick or move around, we ll kind of see how that goes. “

Rodgers also said he felt like the Packers were “in the mix” for some of the receivers on the trade market this offseason but acknowledged there are complexities to be added to a receiver that way.

“There’s not a lot of teams that probably want to trade receivers to Green Bay, so I think we’re probably at the back of the line for a lot of these teams,” he said. “But at the same time, I think if you aren’t going to pay Davante – obviously, we traded him, he wanted to move on – but going out and paying another guy, I don’t know if that makes a Tons of sense … I feel like we’ve been in the mix but does San Francisco really want to trade Deebo Samuel to us?

“I’m sure Packer Nation will be wondering why we didn’t take a receiver or trade up but at this point, you’ve just got to have some faith in the organization and the faith that we will bring in tomorrow and the rest. This draft, I’m going to put in the time to work with those guys and we’re going to find a way to succeed Matt’s offense – like we always have.

“It’s not going to be any different this year, we’re going to be in the mix.”

Rodgers noted Green Bay’s success finding talent at receiver after the first round – Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and Adams.

The 38-year-old said the Packers will miss Adams but added that it’s part of the transactional nature of the NFL.

“It’s a tough business, it’s a wonderful profession. Those of us who have been [able] to play for so long realized that completely, “he said.” There are a lot of things that happen that surprise you, even now. 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 thought 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 miss.”

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.

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