Packers coach Matt LaFleur: Trading WR Davante Adams 'tough for me personally'

Having to part ways with any star player is difficult. When that player is one of the best all-around wide receivers in today's pass-happy NFL, the adverse situation is typically unparalleled.

Speaking with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero at the Annual League Meeting on Sunday, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur opened up about the team trading star wideout Davante Adams to the Raiders.

"Sometimes you got to make some tough decisions," LaFleur said. "Certainly appreciate everything Davante brought to our team. I mean, he is the best receiver in the National Football League, so that was a tough one for me personally and for our organization."

Asked if there were any discussions of trying to talk Adams out of leaving, LaFleur replied: "Well, there really wasn't anything to talk about. I mean, you're going through a contract negotiation and certainly it was just one of those deals where, like I said, a lot of tough decisions had to be made."

The trade to Las Vegas came after Adams informed Green Bay he would not play under the franchise tag, which the Packers placed on the All-Pro wideout at the 11th hour of the March 8 deadline. Adams went on to sign a a five-year, $141.25 million contract with the Raiders upon his arrival.

Adams, a second-round draft pick by Green Bay in 2014, is in hallowed ground after eight seasons with the franchise, placing second all time in catches (669) and touchdown receptions (73) and fourth in receiving yards (8,121).

"To the Packers organization, I can't thank you enough for seeing in me what no one else did," Adams wrote in his farewell. "That phone call back in 2014 was one of my most memorable moments and I promised myself then that I would do everything in my power to repay you for taking a chance on me. We accomplished a lot together and even through the tough times, you always had my back and your trust in me has never wavered. For that I'm forever grateful."

LaFleur, who was "hopeful" to retain Adams ahead of free agency, echoed that sentiment on Sunday.

"Well, I think 'Tae and I have a great relationship," he said. "I think there's a great mutual respect. Certainly he's a guy that's going to be tough to replace and so you never want to let great players like that walk away from your team. But, like I said, it's just one of those deals where some tough decisions have to be made. Unfortunately, in the National Football League, there's a thing called the salary cap and you gotta get below that as well. So everything factored into those decisions."

Replacing Adams won't be easy, if even truly possible. A first-team All-Pro the past two seasons, Adams comes off a year in which he posted career-high marks of 123 receptions for 1,553 yards (11 TDs). Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who won his second consecutive MVP award in 2021, heavily relied on Adams running precise routes, anticipating the back-shoulder throws, creating space on broken plays, and being sure-handed, especially in the most high-pressure situations.

"I think just like every great quarterback or quarterback in general, you want as many pieces as you can around you," LaFleur said when asked about how Rodgers handled the trade. "Certainly there's going to be opportunity, we're still in free agency and then we've got the Draft. In my experience, there's a lot of movement that can take place between now and the start of the season."

Added LaFleur: "We're going to absolutely have to add some pieces to that room and, you know, we got to construct our offense around what we have. You can't look back and you gotta move forward."

The 2022 offseason has been another whirlwind for LaFleur and the Packers organization. Last year's escapade didn't keep the Packers from winning their third consecutive NFC North title and third-straight 13-win season in 2021, but as the business realities of the NFL assist in moderating league parity, offseason drama persists.

When asked if he often dreams about having a normal, quiet offseason, the Packers coach seemed to be taking it all in stride.

"Every night," LaFleur replied with a smile. "But I know that's not the reality of our league."

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