Adams Will Not Have Contract by Week 1
Following the rough offseason with Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the very real possibility of losing him next season, the Packers are now looking at troubling talks to extend All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams.
Adams is arguably the best receiver in football, and he wants to be paid like it. But when asked if the ongoing contract talks would result in a signed extension before the season kicks off on Sunday, Adams didn’t mince words.
“No. No chance.”
A defection by Adams is also a very real possibility. He said he has an “identical mindset” to Rodgers for 2021. That’s good for football on the field, and not so great in regards to a possible commitment to Green Bay. Adams and Rodgers also posted the same picture of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, indicating that 2021 might be their “Last Dance.”
Adams and his agent did not place a Week 1 deadline on an extension, so talks will continue. But by saying that there is “no chance” a deal could be reached this week, it certainly sounds like Adams is unhappy with the current progress.
The dispute did little to dampen the market’s enthusiasm for betting on the Packers. Having opened as three-point road favorites early on, Green Bay has been bet up to 4½-point chalk on the BetUS Sportsbook NFL odds.
T.J. Watt Practices Amid Contract Unhappiness
Much of the contract back-and-forth this offseason has involved Green Bay, Jamal Adams in Seattle, Xavien Howard in Miami, and Chandler Jones in Arizona. But perhaps the best defensive player in the AFC is also seeking a new deal, and there have been some reports that he may not play on Sunday.
Watt, however, practiced on Wednesday for the first time all offseason, and that is a good sign that he is not going to keep himself out of games. Head coach Mike Tomlin also thinks Watt will play, and Ben Roethlisberger thinks the contract talks should end with the Steelers giving Watt “whatever he wants”.
“He’s arguably the best football player in the game right now, not just on defense, just in general. I’ve been through a few negotiations here with contracts. One of the reasons I took less money was for guys like him to get paid, and he needs to get paid. He deserves every penny that he wants and asks for.”
Watt is a three-time Pro Bowler, was second in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting last season, and is making $10.089 million this year on his fifth-year option.
Pittsburgh has $14.7 million in cap space heading into the 2021 season, which ranks 12th most in the NFL. They also rank a distant third in NFL division odds to win the AFC North, now priced at +450.
Austin Ekeler Status in Doubt for Chargers
The Chargers have been a trendy pick to get past the Chiefs in the AFC West in each of the last three seasons, but injuries seem to always stop that train before it leaves the station. Austin Ekeler’s iffy hamstring isn’t nearly as soul-crushing as the many season-ending injuries the team has suffered in recent years, but it might make things more challenging in Week 1.
Ekeler did not practice on Wednesday, and there is now a chance he will not play on Sunday. And considering the Washington Football Team boasts one of the best front sevens in football, that is not good news for a Chargers offense looking to capitalize on last season’s breakout performance by Justin Herbert.
If Ekeler can’t play, his touches will be split between Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, and Larry Roundtree III.
Betting markets suggest he won’t suit up, as the Chargers have flipped from being a one-point road favorite to now a one-point road underdog, according to the BetUS Sportsboook’s Week 1 NFL point spreads.
New Orleans Mayor Says Saints Will Miss Only One Home Game
The New Orleans Saints begin their “home schedule” with a game 550 miles away from the Superdome. Because of Hurricane Ida, the Packers-Saints Week 1 game is being played in Jacksonville on Sunday, while the Saints continue to practice at TCU in Dallas.
When the Week 1 game was moved, the thought was that by the Saints second home game on the schedule - October 3rd against the Giants - New Orleans would once again be able to host an NFL game. The mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, confirmed that timeline on Wednesday, saying that the city’s recovery is on pace to return things to normal by the end of this month.
The Saints may be able to return to their practice facility in Metairie, Louisiana after their Week 2 game at Carolina.