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Cobb or Nelson: Who Would the Packers Choose?

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Cobb or Nelson: Who Would the Packers Choose?

The search for a new general manager and defensive coordinator has attracted most of the attention of Packer fans so far this offseason, but there are plenty of stories to keep an eye on in the offseason beyond what happens in the front office and coaching staff.

One such story: what will the Packers’ receiving corps look like in 2018?

When Davante Adams inked a new 4-year, $58 million contract with $30 million in guaranteed money, a lot of people immediately began to speculate that the Packers could decide to part ways with either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson this offseason. Few teams, these speculators reason, would be willing to keep three receivers at $10 million-plus per year each. The speculation was further fueled by reports from Adam Schefter and Rob Demovsky in late December that the Packers could choose to part with one or both after the season.

Before we begin the analysis of the situation ourselves, it is important to note there are three different possible courses of action here. The Packers could simply choose to pay out the remainder of both men's contracts and go into 2018 with all three of their top receivers. They could also attempt to negotiate a pay cut with either Nelson or Cobb. Finally, they could release one or both to clear cap space.

If I'm the Packers, I do everything I can to keep both guys on the roster in 2018. Their skills and knowledge of the offense will be extremely valuable with a returning Aaron Rodgers and open up more opportunities for running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to succeed in their second years.

That being said, I'm not the guy calling the shots. Therefore, here are some of the factors new GM Brian Gutekunst would be likely to consider if he decides a straight-up release of one of the two would be the best way to go.

Why the Packers would keep Randall Cobb

Both Nelson and Cobb are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents after the 2018 season. Cobb will have a $12.7 million cap hit in the coming season.

  • Cobb will be 28 at the start of the 2018 season, making him five years younger than Nelson.
  • While Cobb’s numbers fell off with Brett Hundley, he still fared better than Nelson and most other Packers receivers not named Davante Adams (36 catches, 351 yards, 3 TD).
  • Even while not being thrown the ball, the tape shows Cobb regularly got getter separation from defenders than Nelson.
  • Cobb’s versatility (even not accounting for ill-advised handoffs to him, a McCarthy special) and reliability is valuable in the return game, should Trevor Davis not be brought back.

Why the Packers would keep Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson will have a $12.5 million cap hit in 2018.

  • While Nelson’s total cap hit is about the same as Cobb’s, the amount of dead cap space that would result from his release is about $1 million less.
  • Nelson is one year removed from one of the finest years of his career, and early in the season still looked like Rodgers’ go-to threat in the red zone, catching 6 touchdowns in the Packers’ first five games (in which they went 4-1). His season fell apart after Hundley took over.
  • While Cobb’s use as a slasher in the slot could potentially be at least mostly replaced by Ty Montgomery or Nelson himself, Nelson’s uncanny ability to make crucial sideline and back-shoulder catches is unmatched by anyone on the team save Davante Adams.
  • Randall Cobb has not had a 1,000-yard season since signing his current deal, which began after the 2014 season. Neither Nelson nor Cobb had a single 100-yard game this year, but Nelson’s synchronization with Rodgers in the red zone in the early part of the season cannot be overlooked.

Ultimately, it’s clear that Davante Adams is now the premier receiving target on the team, and he is in prime position to be Aaron Rodgers’ go-to target for the next four years so long as he is able to stay healthy.

The new general manager will need to address this issue before free agency begins in early March to ensure the Packers are able to fill any resulting need at wide receiver, likely through the draft.

Given how well both players know the offense and the rapport they have with Aaron Rodgers, it would make sense for the Packers to attempt to re-work the deals of one or both receivers if they are truly unable to pay all of their receivers what they are currently slated to make in 2018. In addition, it is quite possible neither Cobb nor Nelson will be on the team in 2019, meaning the Packers might find it in their best interest to keep all of their weapons together for one more year, giving them more time to prepare for what’s to come.

If, however, Gutekunst decides to release one of the two receivers, these are the primary issues he will have to weigh.

It will not be an easy decision.


Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (109) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

I'll guarantee Rodgers wants them both, for one more season at least. Also what do you people think about AR's new flame, Danica Patrick?

Rebecca's picture

She’ll give him a run for his $! LOL

Coldworld's picture

Faster than Brett’s old tractor

The TKstinator's picture

I don’t think GB allocates $ per position, such as “we can’t pay our receiver group more than X amount in total.” What I suspect they do is to weigh value: $ compared to performance/expectations. Eager to see how this plays out. I have always thought that if you want to know what a team really thinks of a player, just follow the $.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Is there anyone else on the roster u guys see capable of assuming a solid #2WR role? In the pipeline?

That's what worries me here.

Coldworld's picture

No. Sadly. Geronimo is a 3 or 4. Monty is a dual threat or slot guy too I think. The rest are unproven, or raw as heck. Janis is probably done I suspect.

Rebecca's picture

I’d like to see Montgomery make it through a single game without some sort of injury.

Coldworld's picture

Might if he played receiver

RobinsonDavis's picture

Monty is an interesting player in this discussion, especially given the contributions by Williams and Jones at RB this last year. Though, I still like Montgomery at RB and believe him to be a tuff &%$* , is that where he fits the best moving forward?

Coldworld's picture

I believe he can play in the slot, motion into and out of the back field, run screens and play in a two RB set that could be interesting with either Jones orWilliams. As a hybrid runner and receiver I think he could be a real weapon.

Nick Perry's picture

This is exactly how I'd use Monty too. Don't limit him but use him all over the field just like New England has used Lewis or White for example. The Packers are going to be hurting for weapons in 2018 no matter WHO is playing QB. Monty is a play-maker, let him make plays.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Geronimo and Montgomery are both Valid #3 receivers. (Cobb gone if does not restructure)

#1 Davante Adams
#2 Jordy Nelson (reconstruct contract)
#3 Geronimo Allison and Ty Montgomery
#4 ??
#5. Michael Clark

We need to make some people on offense

Doug Niemczynski's picture

We need to get more players on offense.

1. I would definitely put out the money for WR Jarvis Landry that would solidify our WRs. We HAVE to get another seasoned VET because it
takes three years to develop them and A.Rogers will be 35 on Dec 2nd. and life without Rogers is coming very quickly. Sad but true and I hate it.
2. I would try and get Jimmy Graham for a 2 year deal and draft a TE in the 3rd round. Hopefully we get an extra compensatory pick in the 3rd.
3. 1st pick in the draft we need a pass rusher.
(Clay Matthews is going to have to restructure so he may be gone) He is only good as a 3rd down situational pass rusher) Again all these player we have known and loved are now in their 30s WE let McCarthy and TT keep Dom Capers and now we all suffer the consequences. I would have now FIRED McCarthy and TT and not even kept them in the org.
4. Second Round pick will have to be once again a CB, RT or RB.

The TKstinator's picture


CAG123's picture

Just a wild thought but does anyone else feel like Martavis Bryant could help boast this offense even more? 6-4 211 guy with 4.3 speed would definitely bring a new element to the offense and something we haven’t had since I don’t know when. I can think of the last time the Packers had a real burner at the wr position someone help me out. I feel like he’d be a good component to Adams who is more of a possession guy than a burner.

Brand New Hero's picture

GB already has 2 exceptionally fast, mediocre WRs that don't get playing time in Davis and Janis. Not sure why they need another one...

Coldworld's picture

You have a point, but they seldom used or threw to Janis and Davis is way too slight to survive regular use I fear. Bryant or similar would at least give height, but would he be thrown to?

Duke Divine's picture

Antonio Brown...5ft 10 185lbs...What's that about slight?

CAG123's picture

You clearly have no clue what you’re talking about Bryant has accomplished more in his career than both Janis and Davis. Despite his lack of production this year he was still a top20 receiver because of what he is capable of he plays in an offense not really known for spreading the ball which is why Brown can get 100 plus catches and Bell gets so many touches look at the receivers the Steelers have let go in Williams and Sanders both did pretty good on other teams especially Sanders. Bryant’s upside is miles ahead of where anyone would project Davis and Janis, he has number 1 potential so a bit of a silly comparison on your part.

BigCheese2's picture

I think everyone has probably thought of Martavis Bryant, he is a freak among freak athletes... He will be too expensive and will complain when he doesn't get the ball.

CAG123's picture

That won’t be an issue in GB where the ball will be spread around more not one guy in Brown getting 100 plus catches and even more targets. It’ll be more of him and Adams getting 80 plus catches a piece.

Doug Niemczynski's picture


dobber's picture

He wouldn't make the Packers any faster.

dobber's picture

I think you miss the boat a little bit on Bryant...he was 4th in receptions (50) on the Steelers behind Brown (101), Smith-Schuster (58), and Bell (85). There's still another player with 40 catches in James behind him. Pittsburgh throws the ball quite a bit and, even with a 100-catch WR in Brown, they spread the ball around. If you go back to 2016, the Packers top catch totals were 97, 75, 60, and 44.

He was benched for his attitude at one point this season when he complained about not getting the ball enough--and this was on a winning team where you'd think guys would swallow it for the good of the group--and has problems staying active due to his off-the-field issues. He could face an indefinite league-imposed suspension if he's caught again. You're right, he has the history of being a big-play WR, but had career-low ypc and TD numbers this season. He's just not someone I'd like to see the Packers throw $$ at.

CAG123's picture

I’m not talking about his numbers when I say top20 based on his talent and upside and what he’s capable of. I already stated he was in an offense that doesn’t really spread the ball that much the fact that Bell has 85 catches to go along with his carries and Brown once again has over 100 catches lets you know they are the focal point. In GB he would be in a system that isn’t going to feed the ball to just 2 players. AB a much more accomplished player has stated his frustration when he doesn’t the ball and he’s what 7-8 years in the league.

dobber's picture

The same Martavis Bryant who has already had a four-game and year-long suspension for his off-field transgressions? Yeah, let me write him a big check...

4thand1's picture

Martelus sounds a lot like Martavis.

CAG123's picture

Ah you must be in the condemn a person for the rest of their life holier than thou club. Once again the guy can’t possibly demand that big of a contract and didn’t the Packers bring back Johnny Jolly? We had the slowest receivers in the league last year they should be doing everything to improve that.

dobber's picture

I belong to the "fool me once", "fool me twice" club. What Bryant shows is patterns of behavior, not one-time transgressions. I'm not saying there's nothing to like about what he can do on the field, I'm just saying that I'm not interested in him because his track record shows you can't count on him.

CAG123's picture

He didn’t have any issues coming out of Clemson but I guess with you being a licensed psychiatrist you can make that call. I mean Josh Gordon is still employed so people can definitely learn from their mistakes and would you look at that!? He went all of 2017 without any off field issues.

dobber's picture

I'm not licensed, I just like to dole out advice from a makeshift roadside stand for 5 cents a pop.

I also like to pull the football away from the neighbor kid when he runs up and tries to kick it. ;)

CAG123's picture

Lol fair enough I just want to see improvement in the team Rodgers only has so much time left and would just like to see them explore every option to put talent around him or should I see more talent and a guy that’s NFL ready now sounds more appealing than hoping some guy out of college can be a reliable target 1-2 years from now. We’ve spent the last few years hoping rookies to hit the ground running

dobber's picture

I agree...they've gotta find talent, and Bryant may come cheap. Those are decisions I'm glad I don't have to make!

CAG123's picture

I just hope you make this same case to anyone you’ve ever met or come across in your life that has made a mistake.

The TKstinator's picture

Apples and oranges, amigo. I think the question is do you invest big dollars in a guy like that, not are you a forgiving and understanding soul.

CAG123's picture

Isn’t that the same question?

dobber's picture

...I'm not a licensed philosopher, either... ;)

HankScorpio's picture

Uh, no.

Do you really not see the difference between forgiving a person of mistakes and offering them a lucrative contract?

CAG123's picture

Don’t be silly you would have to forgive past their mistakes in order to give them a contract they are literally hand in hand. You don’t think teams go over stuff like that when they have meetings? They then decide if that person is worth the risk or not Ray Rice is a great example of someone not worth the risk or Greg Hardy. Vick is someone they decided was worth the risk hence giving him a 100million dollar contract. Come on now

dobber's picture

There's a difference here, too: Rice and Hardy aren't out of the league because of drugs or PEDs...they're out for domestic violence (that and the fact that Rice would be something like 36 now). That's a PR nightmare. Our society is much more tolerant of a guy who wants to shoot up or light up than it is of a guy who beats up women...

Minniman's picture

I like the idea - he does have some maturing to do though

He and Davante Adams would be a formidable pair...... and he's available now.

Jordy and Randall's respective Zenith's have been reached, and while they still have potent contribution capabilities for Green Bay - I think that everyone agrees that this is not as the #1 (or #2) receivers (as the author mentioned); and there's the question of how long to add to this.

What's that saying - "better a year early than a year late"

Jordy's back shoulder catches are ART personified though!

Bearmeat's picture

This is the first glimpse we will get about Gute. TT would have kept both, maybe trying to get both to take a pay cut.

If I were BG, I'd cut Randall, restructure Jordy and grab a FA WR. Robinson and Bryant are intriguing. Then I'd draft another speedster with high upside in the middle rounds who is really raw. Davis and Janis are both "meh". Monty is a slot guy who could take over for Randall.

In this case, I am very glad I'm I'm not the GM. Really hard choices.

Coldworld's picture

I’d choose Randall. Younger, gets more separation. It is not that I don’t think Jordy can work in the slot, but why go 5 years older and slower if forced to choose as I think we are? Sorry, hate to say it too. Get a number 1 or 2 with speed who is credible and I think we can open up Cobb’s potential more.

Bearmeat's picture

True, but Jordy can do things Randall can't.... and we absolutely need more speed at WR.

I get your point though. Like I said, I really hate my answer myself. I'm not even sure I buy it. :(

Minniman's picture

Cobb, Nelson and CM3 are all in the same boat aren't they:

They're no longer at the level to take on their respective opposite (#1 corners for cobb+nelson and Tackle for CM3) and consistently win , but their abilities and veteran wiliness make them better matchups than the #2 or #3 counterpart that they would be lined up against if a top tier FA is bought in to replace them - and their performances would probably be visibly better for it.

BigCheese2's picture

Agree with everything you say. Except, I like Cobb > Jordy &/bc Monty is not a viable solution in the slot-- nor is anyone else on our roster (other than Cobb). Martavis Bryant would be amazing but likely unaffordable (per GB's standards).

Coldworld's picture

If we are going to pay, he is the kind of difference maker we need to pay for.

CAG123's picture

Totally agree the Packers had the slowest receiving corp last year (which I still find unbelievable) no stone should be left unturned Cobb and Nelson could restructure their deals to make things a bit more interesting. He can’t possibly demand that much just based on his production and off field issues.

Samson's picture

Your moves are aggressive and bold. -- I agree and would do pretty much the same.--- (It's easy when you have nothing to lose)
The WR situation in GB will be a indicator of how Gute will be as a GM. -- Is he bold or timid? -- My fear is it'll take two off seasons for Gute to feel empowered in his new role. --- Season 2018 will be trial & error for the new GM.

dobber's picture

My concern is that he'll be chomping at the bit to do stuff to the degree that he'll overreach in this first off-season and try to do too much, not that he won't try to do enough.

Given how this team played in 2017, it's hard to imagine what "doing too much" might look like, but it could happen.

Sockettuem's picture

Smart analysis, Samson. I think you are spot on!

HankScorpio's picture

"This is the first glimpse we will get about Gute. TT would have kept both, maybe trying to get both to take a pay cut."

Serious question....did TT try to get anyone to take a pay cut? I can't recall a single instance. Sitton and Woodson are notable example of guys that were kicked to the curb when their play no longer supported their contract.

Woodson, in particular, has said he was open to the idea of a pay cut after shifting to Safety but was never approached. His absence elevated MD Jennings to a starting role.

It seems to me that TT's MO would have been to cut both and hope that younger guys stepped up.

Bearmeat's picture


HankScorpio's picture

That's right. I forgot about Hawk

Rebecca's picture

Keep them both or cut them both. I don’t see a clear choice between Cobb and Nelson

Minniman's picture

Assuming that a FA of the caliber of Bryant or Robinson is brought in, I'd be inclined to agree with you.... this is the first piece of this whole puzzle to solve though.

That said, if they were amenable to restructuring I see 2 mores years in Jordy and 4 in Randall.

If they were't amenable to a restructure then and want their 2018 quoted money then perhaps its best to go that year early than late.

worztik's picture

Nelson should be kept if one HAS to go and one probably should. Cobb got his contract when Oakland was pursuing him in FA. GE hasn’t earned it Imho. Keep Jordy... good leader and a real team guy... draft a Cobb replacement in rd 2 and let’s play some football... once again!

dobber's picture

People point to TT as being a WR-drafting savant, but his track record with WRs picked after round 2 isn't so hot. I'm hoping Gutekunst will have a better eye in finding decent WR outside of rds 1 and 2.

Packer Fan's picture

I say keep both. Attempt to restructure the contracts. Other than Adams, there is no young WR that is capable enough. Expecting players to make jumps doesn't always work. Haven't we learned the lesson of letting too many veterans go. Might be time to spend a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a WR.

Coldworld's picture

Time to bring one in outside the draft. We have to recover ground from poor drafts of the recent past

nigrivasilayesrej's picture

What people don't take into account is the fact that GB isn't paying big money to the TE or RB position. GB should keep them both for the remaining year of their contracts, draft a WR in the 2nd or 3rd this year (a TE should be looked at in these rounds as well) & let him learn a few things from the veteran group. Cobb will probably want one final multi-year contract after next year - let him go & try to resign Jordy on a 1 year deal if he still wants to play. Monty can play the slot if Jordy retires.

Minniman's picture

I wonder what a trade with Oakland for Jared Cook would look like?

That catch to seal Dallas' fate the year before last had me thinking that he'd finally got on the same page with AR and good things were going to happen.

stockholder's picture

1. If they don' keep both, their NOT SERIOUS about winning. 2. The chemistry is with A-Rod, Not Hundley! 3. No Rookie is going to take their place out of the gates. 4. Rebuild , Rebuild , and rebuild. Thats exactly what your going to get.

Samson's picture

My guess is that there's a rookie WR waiting to get drafted on April 26th or even April 27th that will run circles (even as a rookie) around both RC and Jordy. -- You know, someone with some jets who leaves defenders in the dust. --- Time for the Pack to move on into the future.

stockholder's picture

Not going to happen. Look at all the past #1s now. No faith in Adams ? A-Rods window is closing. Are you really ready to concede the division to the vikings for the next 5 years? The only way a WR gets taken is because Nelson and Cobb are done at the end of their contracts. Nelson said he was ready to retire. Cobb won't. And I believe Adams will self destruct from the pressure. I'm saying that if the packers take a Wr in the first two rounds they will be rebuilding, Rebuilding , rebuilding. The Vikings built their team on defense. Not Wrs.

dobber's picture

"It's not like the Vikings 1st round draft pick was a WR named Treadwell.... Oh wait..."

...or Patterson.

Since they took AP in the first round a decade ago, their first-round draft history on offense reads like a who's who list of crap. They're the Anti-TTs.

dobber's picture

"1. If they don' keep both, their NOT SERIOUS about winning"

It's about pass-catchers, not necessarily WRs, but a combination of WRs, TEs, and RBs. There are a bunch of different ways to build a team and to provide outlets for #12.

This year, 2 of the top 3 pass-catchers in New Orleans were RBs. Two of the top 4 in NE (and 2 of 3 in KC) were a TE and RB (which is normal for them). These are top passing offenses. In the end, it's about having weapons and not necessarily about the position those guys play.

RobinsonDavis's picture

First, Tim, I wish to commend you on a well thought out piece, especially given the rumors flying around. Like you, I am of the belief the Packer GM team should do some negotiating, attempting to keep both, AND still look for another "X or Y-man" But, I am torn on whether the Packers will do that. It takes at least 1 year before a WR develops in this system and they need reps. Secondly, AROD doesn't seem to "spy" rookies well, as he needs to build confidence in their abilities (let alone practice with them in preseason games, which is a different discussion). Thus, it may be best to bite the bullet and part ways with one of our seasoned guys IF they have a replacement plan.

Spock's picture

RD if we can get an X-man those mutant powers should come in handy, LOL.

RobinsonDavis's picture

I wouldn't mind a mutant that Rodgers can toss to anytime, but am afraid there are no Julio Jones types in this draft....though Boyles from Notre Dame certainly has the size and made a hell of catch vs. LSU. Don't know much about him though.

dobber's picture

What you haven't addressed is the question of who has the motivation to renegotiate? It takes two to tango, after all.

I would argue Cobb has no real reason to renegotiate...he's still in his prime, and would likely end up among the top 4-5 WR on the FA market if he were cut. He would likely do just as well on the open market (if not better) on a new multiyear deal with a signing bonus than he would on a 1-2 year extension that would put him back on the market when he's going to clearly be starting to decline.

Nelson, on the other hand, is on the wrong side of 30 and the lack of a decent QB made him look decidedly average. He's not likely to do so well on the FA market in terms of contract length or money as he will do on a 2-year extension with the Packers. He's also supposedly contemplating retirement in the near future, so a short extension plays into his plans.

Tim Backes's picture

Great point dobber, that would certainly factor into the decision as well. Cobb would likely command more on the open market given the stages of their careers, and I'm sure both are well aware of how their respective values stack up on the Packers versus other teams.

Gonna be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

Tim Backes's picture

Good point, it is technically an option. But I think most teams would assume if the Packers are going to be willing to get rid of one of the two, they can just wait for a release to happen so they don't have to take on the full $12 million and change they're owed in 2018.

The whole issue here is that there's some question about whether either guy is worth that much in 2018. We can reasonably assume they have MORE value to the Packers than other teams given their familiarity with Rodgers and the offense, so we can also assume other teams will also be hesitant to pay out the full remaining value.

Minniman's picture

Great points.

As the armchair GM I'd add the FA THEN conduct the contract renegotiation.

Jordy 2 years. Randall 4 years. $ numbers depend on what's left.

Remember 2 seasons ago when no-one could get open?

Make no mistake, these guys now need number #1 and #2 guys to take the heat to give them favorable matchups.

I'd be delirious if Bryant was signed and both restructured. That would allow Gute to draft a solid project without the baptism of fire

croatpackfan's picture

Dobber, Jordy already said in public that he is willing to talk about restructuring his contract... To lower ammount of money... And year or two more to play for Packers and with Rodgers...

So, I really do not think Jordy will be problem to keep woth less oney per year...

For Randall I agree that if we need him, keep him, if Packers are not so eager to keep him, trade him, either for another player, or for draft pick!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Good point, and one I have written about. The procedure seems pretty straight-forward: it is reaching the proper conclusion upon evaluating things that is worthy of the big bucks.

1. Is the player's production commensurate with cash due?
Cap hit is meaningless: cap savings is important.

2. What is the FMV of the player if released?

3. Should GB pay more than FMV to retain him?

4. Do the player and team agree roughly on 1 thru 3?

1A: With Nelson, Cobb and CM3, their production is not worth the cash GB is scheduled to pay ($10.2M, $9.5M and $11.36M respectively).

2B: Nelson's FMV is fairly low. His greatest strengths are the chemistry he has with AR. Takes time to develop that, and his good traits probably need a very good QB to extract: that sideline body control, back shoulder, and the general separation he gets require precise throws. Cobb can play for anyone as a mediocre slot WR. Probably worth more than Amendola and Maclin. He can get a multi-year contract from another team, with some guaranteed money. Nelson probably can't. Opinions on CM3 differ a lot in all these regards.

3C: Does the player provide something we need? Can anyone under contract provide it? Can a FA provide it for the amount of the cap savings or more than those savings if the FA is an upgrade? Can a draft pick provide it? If not, (new and rookie WRs don't do much year one, for eg.), should we pay more than the player's FMV so as not to waste a year of AR's window?

4D: Can GB and the player agree on a pay cut, or extension to the contract for a reduced AAV and/or cap hit.

RCPackerFan's picture

"1A: With Nelson, Cobb and CM3, their production is not worth the cash GB is scheduled to pay ($10.2M, $9.5M and $11.36M respectively)."

Cobb/Nelson's 2018 cap hit ranks 9th and 10th in the league respectively.
Mathews 2018 cap hit ranks 11th in the league.

My question with this. Who determines value based on production?

For Cobb and Nelson had they had Rodgers, their production would have been a lot higher. I broke it down farther down in the comments.

For Mathews are we solely basing his production on sack numbers? Is that the only number we are basing it off on?

What are we basing their worth on?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The only numbers in my comment are about dollar amounts. No where did I base CM3's value solely on the number of his sacks. Frankly, I think your's is an odd response. I am even a little offended, since it seems like you're suggesting things that I never wrote. I am not against numbers and stats, but they always, always, need context. So CM3's sack number have been down, but he can cover, has great movement skills, and aggression. Lots to like, but I can think that his total package isn't worth $11.36M in cash for 2018.

At some point, every GM has to put a dollar figure on FAs' value. And that number is going to vary, both by differences in overall talent evaluation and due to how the player's talent fits into a team's scheme.

Since91's picture

Jordy easily without thought takes a cap friendly deal to finish his career as an all time great PACKER! He will get what’s due to him in a pro rated signing bonus....He is a winner and wants to win if he is going to keep playing and his Jedi connection with Arod is not even believable.....Cobb...why wouldn’t you take a front loaded guaranteed money type of deal to finish your career as a Packer? Men Amendola, Hogan and Edelman are not burners they are not tall they are good football players! Can we please stop wanting the tall and super fast guys on both sides of the ball and keep saying we need this and that... go get some damn good football players who want to put it all on the line instead!

Tim Backes's picture

As much as I'd like to believe jordy finishes his career in green and gold, more often than not things just don't work out that way.

Re: the Patriots' receivers... Keep in mind, the Patriots went out and got Brandin Cooks last offseason precisely because they had a whole bunch of possession guys but nobody who classified as a burner. You need those differing skillset to keep defenses honest.

dobber's picture

"Cobb...why wouldn’t you take a front loaded guaranteed money type of deal to finish your career as a Packer? "

I would argue that Cobb is still likely two contracts away from finishing (or two extensions if he stayed in GB). As a guess, I think it's unlikely the Packers would try to extend him past 2020, and he would not be likely to accept it unless it's rich on guaranteed cash when he can hit the open market and try to get more years and more guaranteed money.

Admittedly, it's a roll of the dice on his part because he would have to do well in 2018 to really make the most of a trip to free agency.

Since91's picture

How bout this quiz and don’t cheat....Name 7 players on the Patriots defense:
Ready go!

nigrivasilayesrej's picture

Gilmore, butler, mccourty, chung, flowers, brown, harrison

croatpackfan's picture

Well, that was not mention for Patroiots fans, as you are... (Joking)

dobber's picture

Revere, Washington, Adams, Jefferson...

Turophile's picture

What is Randall Cobbs value ? Answer medium-value. He has not played up to his contract, but he has youth on his side (5 years younger than Jordy Nelson. who seems to have lost much of the speed that allowed him to get open). To lose both Cobb and Nelson would go a long way to ruining the 2018 season, before it even starts.

What is Jordy Nelson's value ? Less than Cobbs, at his present wage, due to the march of time. The key for him is a wage restructure (and what that final wage is). If the Packers can save enough, and think that he can last another year as an outside WR, they can draft a high pick replacement, giving the new guy a year to get some understanding of what an NFL receiver needs to know.

Being an NFL level receiver requires A LOT of coaching and reps, it is hugely more complex than at college level. A year spent learning and subbing in here and there for Jordy, will help a lot. It is also likely that there are few better mentors, both game-wise and being professional, than Nelson.

Since the cap covers all positions, I'd also look at cutting Matthews. That would hurt, but the Pack could live with Perry, Biegel, Gilbert and a first round draft pick for the 2018 season. Not ideal, but that $11m+ salary is too big for the production shown (and Matthews has stated he is not open to salary re-negotiation).

This would also free up more money for a player it would be very nice to keep, Morgan Burnett. I think Burnett's value in a Pettine led defense = high (though as always it depends on contract size).

So there we are:
1) Cobb is kept. His contract runs out in 2018, which allows the Packers to re-think a new contract in line with his value to the team at that time.

2) Jordy is kept for one more year at a considerably reduced salary, which allows his drafted replacement time to learn.

3) WR Draft pick (I'm thinking second round here). Has a year to learn the game at NFL level, subbing with Jordy, who is his security blanket.

4) Matthews is gone. Pass rusher is the first pick in the 2018 draft.

5) Burnett is retained. He is a very good fit for what new coordinator Pettine wants on defense.

6) Get a good CB in free agency (yes, that will cost). Draft (in order) OLB, WR, CB/TE CB/TE, (whichever of CB/TE is picked first, the opposite is picked with the next pick). Then fill in with another TE, O line, backup QB, etc etc.

Coldworld's picture

At receiver, lack of speed kills. We simply don’t have what it takes to stretch the defense. Keeping popular players is an easy trap to fall into. However, the fact is we can’t afford to go into the season with Nelson and Cobb because they now play the same position.

To me Cobb looks faster and is 28. He has not earned his current pay and likely won’t get it. He could be good got another 4 years. I would try to retain at fmv. If he won’t then we have to dip into FA, or keep Nelson on a one year and draft a receiver in the second or third round to play the slot and develop. Higher risk for the next 4 years, but may open more cap.

In both scenarios, we need to look for a FA number 2 receiver with deep speed and some size to play the old Nelson role. A draft pick is unlikely to be a significant contributor in that role in 2018.

Allison is number 4 with Monty providing some cover alongside perhaps Yancey and Clark

Robert William's picture

Cut Cobb and ask Nelson to come back with a big pay cut. Same with Matthews( he is worth maybe half of what they pay him.) not enough difference makers. Passing on Watt was a mistake last year.

RCPackerFan's picture

This seems to be one of the biggest things fans want to talk about. Who to cut.

My question is why are we wanting to cut someone all the time? If its not Nelson, its Cobb. If its not Cobb, its Mathews. If its not Mathews its Nelson... It just gets old to be honest.

We have no idea how Gutekunst will operate. No clue at all.

Will he try to get the current players to renegotiate? Will he just cut one or both of the players? Will he keep both? We have no idea.

So many people want to look at their numbers this year. That is completely unfair to both players in that they had to deal with Hundley being their QB for half the year.

Nelson and Cobb both showed they can get behind defenses in Carolina. A healthy Rodgers likely throws 2 TD passes to each player in that game.
Both players with Rodgers are night and day better from what we saw this year with Hundley.

HankScorpio's picture

It's odd that so many people want the Packers to skew a bit older with more veteran talent but at the same time they want to cut existing vets after the first bump in the road.

RCPackerFan's picture

Hank, I honestly don't get it.
I see the very same argument on twitter all the time. It honestly makes no sense to me.

Also, if the Packers cut either player, I doubt they would be without a job for very long. Meaning they bring value to teams. Which in turns means they have value with Green Bay, especially when Rodgers is the QB.

HankScorpio's picture

In terms of productivity per cap dollars, the play of neither can support their cap hit. With TT's reluctance to spend in FA, they might not have looked seriously for a better alternative on the open market. Gute promises a different approach.

Ideally, I would like to see both retained but at a combined cap hit of close to $10-$12 mil.

With Nelson, that would mean a straight pay cut. He might be able to find the lost productivity with Rodgers back under center but is clearly on the downside of a stellar career.

With Cobb, I'd be willing to extend the deal a few years with cap numbers that come in far beneath his current levels. Cobb is still young enough to be productive for a few more years but seems to top out as an excellent #3/middling #2 in terms of productivity.

RCPackerFan's picture

(In terms of productivity per cap dollars, the play of neither can support their cap hit. )
It is really hard to defend Nelson and Cobb's productivity this year. But when you look at the numbers they had with Rodgers compared to Hundley, its crazy.

In 6 games that Rodgers started (not including Minnesota's game that he got hurt in).
Cobb had 30 receptions for 302 yards and 2 TD's. (5 receptions, 50.3 yards per game)
Nelson (played in 5 games) had 22 receptions for 258 yards and 6 TD's. (4.4 receptions, 51.6 yards per game)

In the 9 starts that Hundley (not including Minnesota's game that he got hurt in).
Cobb had 33 receptions for 323 yards and 2 TD's. (3.6 receptions, 35.8 yards per game)
Nelson had 25 receptions for 129 yards and 0 TD's. (2.7 receptions, 14.3 yards per game).

The numbers are crazy. If we take those numbers and average them out for a whole season they would look like this.

With Rodgers -
Cobb: 96 receptions 804 yards 5 TD's.
Nelson: 70 receptions 825 yards 19 TD's.

With Hundley -
Cobb: 58 receptions 574 yards 4 TD's.
Nelson: 50 receptions 258 yards 0 TD's.

Obviously you can't project what the season would have been like, but averaging out the numbers they had with each QB is really telling. Especially Nelson.

Therefore we really can't take away the production numbers from last year and draw any big time conclusions from it.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Nice. Data! I'd note though that Nelson only played 7 snaps in game 2 against Atlanta, so to all intents and purposes Nelson's aggregate numbers should be divided by 4 rather than 5. That would lead to 22/4 = 5.5 recs and 64.5 yds/gm which extrapolates out to 88 recs and 1032 yards (using your raw numbers). [I get 230 yards in those 4 games (57.5 yds/gm) and 19 recs (4.75 recs/gm) which extrapolates to 920 yards on 76 recs (on 28 targets, or 67.86% catch percentage, and a 12.11 yd/catch average.

Interestingly enough, Nelson had a pretty good game against MN with 6 recs for 60 yards - that game used the game plan drawn up for AR. Checking the play by play, Nelson caught one pass on one target for 10 yards from AR, so he was 5 recs on 9 targets for 50 yards from Hundley.

That sounds like it was Hundley and game plan changes that derailed Nelson. The caveat is that AR got a completely washed up James Jones 890 receiving yards. James Jones was out of football after his 890 yard season.

So, what's Jordy's value? IDK. Kenny Britt had 748, 681 and 1002 yds years when he signed with Cleveland for $8M AAV with $10.5M fully guaranteed. He tanked and was cut after one season. Cleveland is eating $10.4M in dead money and NE just signed Britt for $1.2M AAV. Thing is though, at $8M AAV, Britt had averaged 15.6, 18.9 and 14.7 yards per reception in those 3 seasons. Big play guy who isn't elite or a #1. Jordy is unlikely to see 14 yds/rec or more again: he can't take the top off a defense the way Britt could. So, less than $8M AAV and more than Maclin money ($5.5M)? Probably less than Edelman money, who is listed at $5.5M AAV but has guarantees and $M in incentives that could bring it up to as much as $7.75M, but I've no idea how hard it will be to reach those incentives.

William Brauer's picture

Knowing the offense is one thing but you need to run and it seems both these guys have lost more than step, in Nelson's case it seems he can hardly run, looks like a slow tight end.

4thand1's picture

How many times did receivers get open and Hundley didn't see them? Hundley couldn't throw a receiver open, period. Hundley couldn't read defenses, AR can as good as anyone. AR has a chemistry with Cobb and Nelson that comes from playing together. People want them gone and depend of iffy FA's and rookies that make mistakes running routes? AR doesn't trust receivers that aren't on the same page with him ,so they won't get the ball. We cut 2 vets and the receiving corps may suffer to a point that costs games. If anything we NEED a TE that attacks the seam and stretches the field. Be careful for what some of you wish for, it could be a total disaster.

Bure9620's picture

Going to games live tells you the story. Both games I went to, Cobb was able to create separation and Nelson was not. Saw Cobb open several times and not thrown to. I love Jordy, he has been a terrific Packer, but we have seen a significant decline in his play which is typical for a receiver his age. At 33he will be yet a step slower.

mrtundra's picture

No matter what GB does with Cobb and Jordy, Gute will have to draft WRs who will eventually replace them. We should be thinking that we are in replacement finding mode for CM3 and ARod(but not for this next season for ARod), as well. Hundley is not the answer at QB and we don't know what Callahan can do based on his 2 minutes of playing time this season. I think Monty will be back at the WR spot, or traded, eventually, based on how well Jones and Williams ran for us. If Monty stays at RB, lets see what Philbin can do with a three RB offense. Our RBs should spend time with the Receivers Coach so they can learn how to catch the ball. Way too many misses last season.

DD's picture

I'm a huge Nelson and Cobb fan. But I must be honest. Rodgers is good for them, but both must seriously restructure big time. I don't think realistically that many teams would want them. We need quick receivers with more speed who can get more separation in routes. Number 2, get a big, fast TE for God's sake and Rodgers!! Number 3, restructure Clay. Not many, if any, will hire him also. Sorry guys. Go Pack!!

dobber's picture

"Number 3, restructure Clay. Not many, if any, will hire him also. "

I disagree. Yes, restructuring CMIII should be a top priority, but if the Packers cut him outright, he'll get scarfed up pretty quickly. Am I overvaluing him? Perhaps, but he plays a premium position, is still pretty athletic, and showed in 2017 that he still has something left in the tank.

D.D. Driver's picture

If one stays and one goes: Jordy has got to be the one to leave. He's had a great career but he is clearly on the decline. And it only goes down from here. If the old adage is true that its better to part with a player a year too early rather than a year too late, Jordy probably should have been gone before last season. In 2018, it's a no brainer.

It wouldn't break my heart if Cobb were let go as well. But at least with Cobb, he is young enough that we can hope for a bounce back season. With Nelson, the 2017 version that we saw--> that is the *best* he will ever be from here on out and its only going to get worse from here.

Spock's picture

I don't get the "cut Cobb" stuff. Aaron Nagler always shakes his head at this and says to "look at the tape". Cobb is still young and still gets separation but, as Nagler points out "he can't throw the ball to himself". For some reason he hasn't been getting the ball tossed his way even though he's open (except getting throws on the "scramble drill" type plays). He CATCHES EVERYTHING and is a gamer who will play hurt. You can argue that he "hasn't lived up to his contract" but if he's not getting the ball is that really true?
I like Jordy but he has clearly lost a step. Cutting Cobb and keeping Jordy seems counter intuitive. I think the Packers will find a way to keep both, but if not, I would bet it is Jordy who leaves/retires, not Cobb.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Someone said Cobb is better than Amendola. Absolutely true and if Cobb was utilized by GB the way NE utilizes their slot receivers he'd be an All-Pro. Watch NE, a boring repetitive offense of short tosses over the middle, 5 yards, 8 yards, ten yards, then do it again. Cobb is even better in that if the play is covered he can go deep, as he's done many times with Rodgers when a play has failed, or find the open spot. It would be ridiculous to cut him and I think Rodgers would not be very happy if it happened.

The video that was posted, Rodgers 10 best throws, two of the top three went to... Janis. I know I'll be laughed at but we need tall fast receivers to "take the top off" a defense and have one. It's just that he never plays. Why hasn't he been utilized to open the field more? The arguments that he can't get open would have more weight if we actually saw him in some extended action and had plays called for him.

pacman's picture

I've asked this about Janis a million times. He runs a straight deep route and takes 2 defenders with him because he won't be covered by the fastest defending CB. That's gotta open the middle up. I just don't understand all this talk about can't follow a route. If you got a super fast guy, make the play work for him.

4thand10's picture

I'm not sure exactly what I would do and I'm glad it's not up to me. Cobb is a super high paid slot receiver...but he can play RB, seems assignment sure and can do punt and kick returns so there is some value there. But I don't think there is as much value in terms of what he is getting paid.
Nelson will be 33 this spring, but has veteran savvy and a connection with AR. Both age and Injuries are not out of the realm of possible problems.

Allison, Janis, Clark and Yancy do not immediately appear to be replacements or even complimentary parts yet. But ,as others have mentioned, who knows what the stats may have been had AR played a full season.

I will say since Adams is signed, Cobb needs more production for contract value and Jordy is older I would look at outside WR in the draft. Be it this year or next, one is going to have to be drafted or signed anyway.

pacman's picture

He was also the emergency QB according to some. I would have liked to see him in there rather than Hundley.

WIth 3 full viable RBs that can also catch, Cobbs' value is not what it used to be. No way Jordy gets $10M on the open market but Cobbs might. My guess is Jordy takes a pay cut and Cobbs plays it out or gets traded.

Gute's picture

Choose both. Nelson will re-work his contract. I think giving Adams the big contract was a mistake because of the concussions. The receivers don't make GB - AR makes GB.

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

Keep Jordy trade Cobb not debatable end of story

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