Just days after Rodgers signed his blockbuster contract extension to return, Adams, his favorite target, left town in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders sent the Packers their first-round pick (No. 22 overall) and second-round pick (No. 53) in this year's draft. That gives the Packers four picks in the top 60; they also own picks Nos. 28 and 59.
Adams, 29, is signing a five-year contract averaging $28.5 million per season with Las Vegas, with $67.5 million fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN. Rodgers was aware of the developments with Adams, who preferred to play elsewhere rather than return to Green Bay for a contract and pay structure similar to his deal with the Raiders, a source said.
"It's never easy moving on from a player and person the caliber of Davante Adams. We have so much respect for all that Davante gave on and off the field during his eight seasons in Green Bay as he was integral to all that we've accomplished," Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. "He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the storied history of the Packers and we look forward to him being enshrined into the Packers Hall of Fame one day. We wish nothing but the best for Davante, his wife Devanne and the rest of their family moving forward."
The trade reunites Adams with Derek Carr, his quarterback at Fresno State before they entered the NFL together in 2014, and also gives Carr a No. 1 receiver in his prime.
The Raiders' odds to win the Super Bowl improved slightly after the trade, moving from 60-1 to 50-1 at Caesars Sportsbook. Las Vegas is 25-1 to win the AFC and has the fourth-best odds to win the AFC West at 7-1.
Green Bay dropped from 11-1 to 12-1 to win the Super Bowl, but still owns the second-best odds in the NFC behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-1).
The Packers had used the franchise tag on Adams last week, but now they're free from that $20.14 million charge on their salary cap.
However, Green Bay now is in major need at the receiver spot. Two of the receivers in their rotation last season are free agents: deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. The Bears signed St. Brown on Thursday, but now the Packers have cap space to bring back Valdes-Scantling if they choose. They also put the second-round tender on restricted free-agent receiver Allen Lazard. Randall Cobb also returned to the Packers but with a massive pay cut from $7.875 to $2.075 million.
At this point, the Packers' top receivers on their depth chart are Lazard, Cobb, Amari Rodgers and Malik Taylor. But now they have the cap space and draft capital to rebuild the position. They have not drafted a receiver in the first round since 2002, when they picked Javon Walker at No. 20 overall.
Adams was never going to play on the franchise tag, and late last season he chose his words carefully when discussing the possibility, saying at the time: "I'm not sure how to answer that safely right now. So, we'll just cross that bridge when we get to it. I'll just say that. I like to be professional on here."
Adams' trade to the Raiders ends the most successful quarterback-receiver partnership in Packers' history. Rodgers and Adams own the Packers' record for most career touchdowns by a QB-WR combination with 68, breaking Rodgers and Jordy Nelson's previous mark of 65.
Last summer, Adams made no secret of his desire to be the NFL's highest-paid receiver. The Packers agreed, but the sides could not agree on what defined the highest-paid receiver. Adams and his agent, Frank Bauer, estimated the standard is $27.75 million per year, the average in Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins' contract.
However, the Packers view Hopkins' average as closer to $20 million per year, given that his most recent deal was an extension to his previous contract (five years, $81 million). The added money was $54.5 million over two more years.
So Adams played out the season and had perhaps his best year, setting the single-season franchise record for catches (123) and receiving yards (1,553) last season. He became just the sixth player in NFL history with 120-plus catches, 1,500-plus yards and 11-plus touchdown catches in the same season and is the only player in NFL history with three seasons (2018, 2020-21) of 110-plus catches, 1,350-plus receiving yards and 11-plus receiving TDs.
Adams and Carr played two seasons together at Fresno State, with Adams catching 24 of Carr's 50 touchdown passes in their final collegiate season in 2013.
Adams is the most accomplished wideout Carr will have had in his eight-year pro career.
Carr has played with talented receivers in previous years, but Amari Cooper was still early in his career while Michael Crabtree's best days were behind him. Both fell out of favor with Carr. Then there was Antonio Brown, whose self-imposed implosion got him released before ever appearing in a regular-season game. Henry Ruggs III was starting to come into his own last season before he was involved in a high-speed car crash that killed a 23-year-old woman in Las Vegas; Ruggs was cut.
Now with Adams in the fold, so long as the Raiders' offensive line improves, Carr should have no excuses not to thrive.
ESPN's Paul Gutierrez and David Purdum contributed to this report.