The Dallas Cowboys will have to face the Green Bay Packers this season, in what’s been a contentious rivalry. In this, there’s good news and bad news.
Bad news is Aaron Rodgers will be a part of it, after having opted to return after months of speculation. Good news is his top receiver Davante Adams won’t be. The Packers swapped their superstar receiver for a first- and second-round draft pick with the Las Vegas Raiders in a shocking move.
The move comes despite the Raiders and Adams being tied to each other for some time now. In addition to the trade, Las Vegas immediately compensated him more than any other receiver has ever sniffed. Five years for $141.25 million ($28.25 million per year), resetting the market for wide receivers.
The Dallas Cowboys just got out of one big time receiver contract following the trade of Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. That cleared up $16 million in cap space. However, they may have to do might not be too far off that they’ll need to do it all over again.
Unlike the quarterback market, the receiver market follows a different set of rules. In the QB market, whoever’s next to get paid is next to reset the market. For WRs, unless you’re a year-after-year All-Pro, elite-level player, your market is usually somewhere in the averages of the third- and sixth-highest paid receivers.
With Dallas Cowboys now No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb going into Year Three, he’ll be eligible for his first contract extension by the end of the season. Given the direction of the market, his price tag is only going to go up.
As it stands today, the market for a top-end receiver in the league is around $20 million per season, in the same area as Keenan Allen or Chris Godwin. The interesting part is that the market for a team’s WR2 is also rising after the Christian Kirk and Mike Williams deals.
For perspective, the market at the time of Cooper’s deal for a WR1 was between $16-$19 million per year average. WR2 was closer to $13-$15 million per season, similar to (then) Cooper Kupp or Alshon Jeffrey.
At this rate, the market for a WR1 is likely going to average around $23-$25 million per year over the next few seasons.
In only two seasons, Lamb set and eclipsed the Dallas Cowboys record for receptions in their first two seasons. All while averaging over 1,000 receiving yards per season and hauling 11 total touchdowns.
Expect his targets to increase, and as his targets go up, so will his numbers. And as his numbers continue to rise, so will his price tag. Davantae Adams was only the beginning, and it will likely lead Lamb and the Dallas Cowboys to a bigger price than either expected.