Why Bears won't trade for Davante Adams


The Raiders decision to bench Derek Carr, while technically still a part of the AFC’s playoff picture, created quite the buzz around the NFL this week. It also led to a slew of questions about the team’s vision, for both this season and beyond. Are the Raiders throwing in the towel with many teams to pass in the standings, and only two playoff berths up for grabs? Is a rebuild on the horizon in Las Vegas? If so, could Davante Adams be on the trading block just one year after a blockbuster deal reunited him with Carr, one of his buddies from college?

That last question is especially pertinent for Bears fans who have watched Justin Field take the next step in his development this season, and have seen him do it without a true No. 1 receiver. But unfortunately for Bears fans who are salivating at the prospect of Adams coming to Chicago, the reality is it’s not going to happen.

Let’s start with the simple stuff. If the Raiders trade Adams next year, that would result in a $31.4 dead cap hit. There’s no hope of any “cap savings” to offset the dead cap money, either. Instead it would be $16.6 million in losses towards the 2023 salary cap, per Spotrac. Further, the Raiders invested a whole lot to bring Adams to Vegas. First, they sent a first-round draft pick and a second-round draft pick to Green Bay, then they opened up the checkbook and signed him to a five-year, $140 million deal with $65.67 million fully guaranteed. The finances alone make a trade nearly totally prohibitive.

A trade becomes even less likely when you look at how wide receivers have changed the game. Every year it becomes more and more clear that an elite receiver is necessary to compete in today’s NFL, and Adams is still one of the best players at that premium position.  Look at how Tyreek Hill instantly elevated the Dolphins offense, or how A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs and Ja’Marr Chase did the same for the Eagles, Bills and Bengals. Alternately, look at how the Packers offense nosedived once Adams left Green Bay. After the Raiders invested so much to address that position with Adams, it’d be hard to imagine them moving on after just one season.

Then consider where the Raiders are as a franchise. Sure, they’re underperforming this season, but eight of their nine losses have been one-score losses. Last season they won 10 games, made the playoffs, and lost to the eventual AFC Champion Bengals. Moving forward, most of their core is already in place. Key contributors like Maxx Crosby, Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, Chandler Jones and Kolton Miller are all under contract through the 2024 season. Waller, Crosby and Adams are all under contract through 2026. The Raiders are built to win, and they’re built to win now.

It’s far more likely that the Raiders press on without Carr than start a rebuild in 2023. With several intriguing QBs set to hit the free agent market this offseason, it feels like Las Vegas will try to plug and play a proven commodity to keep their championship window open, similar to how the Colts signed Philip Rivers in 2020, or how the Rams made a move for Matt Stafford last season. Tom Brady will have opportunities to play until he decides to retire, and he could be someone the Raiders pursue. Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield have turned heads with their second chances this season and will likely earn starting jobs somewhere next season, too. Instead of looking for the Raiders to tear things down, look for them to continue building with a new quarterback leading the way.

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