Last year was a banner year for two of the NFL’s greatest wide receivers who kept excelling even after leaving offensive havens.
It’s amazing the size of the chip that even the most incredible athletes can shoulder. The NFL employs only elite athletes, top to bottom, and wide receivers like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams have dominated at the highest rung on the sporting ladder for the last several years. Still, at least Adams felt he had something to prove as recently as last year.
The narrative going into 2022 was a very interesting one for Adams and Hill alike. Adams was a five-time Pro Bowler who had elevated himself to become arguably the greatest wide receiver in the game. Hill was been to six consecutive Pro Bowls and was the most dangerous offensive weapon in the game. They’d also caught their passes, up to that point, from the two quarterbacks who had claimed four of the last five MVP awards.
Then came the ’22 offseason in which the Kansas City Chiefs traded Hill to the Miami Dolphins for five draft choices. The Packers lost Adams in free agency with the Las Vegas Raiders’ decision to make Adams the highest-paid in the game at his position. Just like that, Hill and Adams faced greater pressure than ever before. And at least for Adams, the motivation to prove something more surfaced in the desert.
It’s one thing for Adams to put up monster stats when catching passes from a future Hall of Famer like Aaron Rodgers. It’s another thing when you’re the one holding up any real threat from a struggling offense in Las Vegas. For Hill, he went from the electric arm of Patrick Mahomes to the health concerns of Tua Tagovailoa. While Hill landed in a much better offensive situation than Adams, they both were placed in similar situations.
Fast forward to the present and both players are coming off of another Pro Bowl campaign. Not only that but both Hill and Adams were named first-team All-Pro performers by the Associated Press in 2021. For Hill, it was the fourth time in seven seasons. For Adams, it was the third consecutive season with such an honor.
Despite catching passes from Derek Carr instead of Aaron Rodgers, Adams went on to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns (14) in 2022. He also eclipsed 1,500 receiving yards for the second consecutive season. Meanwhile, Hill put a career-high 1,710 yards in Mike McDaniel’s offense, proving he can remain a No. 1 receiver away from Travis Kelce drawing away so much attention from defensive coordinators.
At any rate, just in case either player had any doubters remaining in the stands or around the league, both Hill and Adams proved they belonged in the conversation for the best overall wideout in football. They also proved they can shoulder more than anyone realized they could before now. As Adams recently told The Ringer’s Mirin Fader, “A quarterback doesn’t make me. … I make me. And I can do it consistently at this level.”
At this point, it seems Canton is likely to come calling for both players at some point in the near future.