LaFleur: Packers 'hopeful' to retain 'best receiver in the league' Davante Adams before free agency

Much of the immediate questions following Green Bay's Divisional Round exit centered on the future of Aaron Rodgers.

Lost in the shuffle was Rodgers' most important and trustworthy target, Davante Adams. Unlike Rodgers, the receiver is headed toward free agency in the spring unless he and the Packers can come to an agreement on a new deal.

After fielding an assortment of difficult questions in the aftermath of Saturday's stunning loss, Packers coach Matt LaFleur addressed the matter Monday.

"Yeah, I sat down with 'Tae for a while today, as well," LaFleur said. "We kind of talked everything through and, again, another guy that we're hopeful that we can come to an agreement with and, obviously, he's done so much on the field, but I think it's still the stuff that you all don't get to see within the meeting room, with how he talks to his teammates, with how he sets a standard for everybody, there's a reason he was voted a captain, rightfully so. He earned that.

"I told him that he's definitely earned the respect of not only his teammates but all of his coaches, as well, and I think everybody in this organization. Just his ability to compartmentalize his own situation and go out there and compete at the level he did each and every week, putting himself out there, obviously, in a contract year and just bringing it and playing at the highest of levels. He's the best receiver in the league."

Adams was once again an essential part of Green Bay's offense, recording career highs of 123 receptions and 1,553 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He's been incredibly valuable to both Rodgers and the Packers, and was a huge reason Rodgers won NFL Most Valuable Player in 2020. Rodgers very well could take home the award again for the 2021 season, and Adams will again deserve a good portion of the credit.

Adams is truly among the best receivers, if not the best. He's earned first-team All-Pro honors in each of the last two seasons and has reached five straight Pro Bowls. Green Bay is not a contender without Rodgers, and Rodgers might not be quite as prolific if not for Adams.

Adams' versatility, superb hands and even better route running make him a matchup nightmare for every defense in the NFL. Limiting him to nine catches and 90 yards in a snowy playoff game at Lambeau Field stood as an achievement for the 49ers defense, while such a stat line would be a strong game for most any other receiver. He's that dangerous.

After again falling short of the Super Bowl despite securing yet another No. 1 seed, Green Bay has to spend the next few weeks and months figuring out how it's going to proceed in 2022. Though he'll need to be kept happy for at least one more offseason, Rodgers is at least under contract. The same cannot be said about Adams, who would be the most-coveted free agent by a significant margin if he reached the open market.

It will be up to Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst to prevent that from happening.

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