The Packers Should Probably Cut Davante Adams
The NFL is a tough game, and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. It happens year after year and day after day.
While players losing jobs is nothing to make light of, this decision shouldn't be too hard for the Packers.
Adams' Struggles in 2015
Last year, Adams saw 94 targets and caught just 50 of them, giving him a catch rate (53.19%) that ranked 48th among 54 receivers with at least 75 targets. Teammate James Jones 50.51% (50 catches on 99 targets) ranked 51st, and it gives is a convenient place to compare the two in terms of per-target and per-catch production.
On the same amount of catches in the same offense, Jones added 93.22 points above expectation, as measured by our Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which you can read more about in our glossary. That ranked 19th among those 54 receivers.
By contrast, Adams' 50 receptions yielded just 32.38 points above expectation, a score that ranked better than only Tavon Austin's 26.44.
On a per-catch basis, Adams added just 0.65 points above expectation (again ranking 53rd), and Jones added 1.86 per catch, tops in the subset. Per target, Jones' 0.94 points above expectation ranked behind only Sammy Watkins (1.05), Doug Baldwin (1.01), and Odell Beckham (0.96).
Adams' 0.34 topped only Austin's 0.30.
Problematically, Adams' drops -- he had six compared to Jones' three -- weren't all that held back his production. Even his catches, as measured by Reception NEP per catch, were unhelpful to the offense. Further, only 76.00% of his 50 catches actually added NEP gains for the Packers, well off the mark of the league average 84.06%. Jones' 94.00% ranked seventh in the group of qualified receivers.
In the bigger picture, among the 721 instances of a receiver seeing at least 90 targets in a season since 2000, Adams' Reception NEP ranked 719th. Only Greg Little (30.49) in 2013 and Mike Thomas (29.73) in 2011 did less with as much opportunity as Adams had.
A Justifiable Decision
With a healthy Jordy Nelson, whose career 0.93 Reception NEP per target since 2000 is tops among 102 receivers with at least 500 targets in that span, to stretch the field, Adams could easily see an efficiency bump if he plays his way into the third receiver role.
But with Randall Cobb primed to bounce back because of Nelson's presence as well as potential up-and-comers Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, and even Ty Montgomery in the mix, Adams really does need a stellar summer to justify sticking around in Green Bay.