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Packers Need to Ask Randall Cobb to take a Pay Cut

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Packers Need to Ask Randall Cobb to take a Pay Cut

Should the Packers consider cutting Randall Cobb?

Should the Packers consider cutting Randall Cobb?

The Green Bay Packers have a lot of questions to answer on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, but they also have some tough decisions to make on offense too.

One of the more difficult ones, might be what to do with wide receiver Randall Cobb?

Two years ago, the Packers re-signed Cobb with a four-year $40 million deal. And while he hasn’t been terrible the past two seasons, he has far from lived up to the deal. In 2015, Cobb was targeted 129 times in 16 games and produced just 829 yards. He also scored six touchdowns. The problem is he averaged just 6.4 yards per target, a paltry number for a supposedly elite receiver.

The season before, in 2014, Cobb turned 126 targets in 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2012, he was targeted 104 times for 954 yards. This past year, while he was better, he was targeted 84 times and finished with 610 yards and four touchdowns.

That equaled 7.2 yards per target. In terms of yards per reception, during his first four seasons, he averaged at least 14.0 in all of them. In 2015, he averaged 10.5 and last season, it dipped to 10.2.

At this point, it’s pretty clear Cobb, while effective in the slot, isn’t a No. 1 wide receiver. He struggled mightily without Jordy Nelson in the lineup. He battled injuries in 2016 and despite looking good in the playoffs, still didn’t produce at a $10 million level.

That’s why, it may be time to approach the sixth-year man out of Kentucky about a pay cut.

Certainly, the Packers don’t need the money. They have close to $50 million in cap space. But that doesn’t mean they should overpay for a player that doesn’t deserve it. Cobb may rebound, but he may not.

Even without him, Green Bay would have Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison. Hopefully, Jared Cook will be back in the fold as well. In an ideal world, Cobb would be too. But right now, paying $10 million for an above average slot receiver, seems like a luxury.

And with players like Cook, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Micah Hyde, T.J. Lang, JC Tretter and others set to hit the free-agent market, the Packers need to make sure they spend their money wisely.

And furthermore, with Adams set to become a free agent after the 2017 season, the Packers need to start thinking about the future.

Cobb should be back in Green Bay next season, he has a chance to make a greater impact with the Packers than anywhere else; He can also play with an MVP quarterback and on a Super-Bowl caliber team. But he shouldn’t be back at $10 million.

With a secondary, a pass rush, a linebacking core and a offensive line that all need reinforcements, the Packers must stop overvaluing their own talent and that should start with Cobb.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

stockholder's picture

No they don't need Cobb to take a pay cut. TT/Packers should honor the contracts. Their 50 mil. cap says they can wait. Cobb is a decoy too. As long as no one is better,hell no. Don't play with these guys. They can't tell A-rod to throw at them every down. MM runs certain things on sunday, for certain players. Cobb is still a threat to catch that game winning TD. And TT isn't going to sign any big FA's anyway.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Asking for a pay cut IS honoring the contract. Only the guaranteed portion is assured, and the Packers have every right to cut a player and save the remaining money--just like any employer.

Offering a pay cut is an option m9st employees would LOVE compared to being fired outright.

pooch's picture

Why should they honor it,players opt out of contracts all the time

dobber's picture

Players only opt out of contracts if the payer and team agreed for that option to exist when the contract was structured. A player can't just decide not to honor his contract and go play somewhere else. They can hold out, but the team still owns the rights of that player. In that sense, the team, with the ability to pretty much cut any player at any time, has a tremendous amount of power.

dobber's picture

In many cases the "pay cut" is a misnomer in the sense that in so doing, teams frequently guarantee more of the contract value in order to decrease the ceiling of the deal. Often, this means the player realizes a higher floor on their contract even if it means they don't make the whole value of the initial contract. Hanging on to a larger contract value then means that getting cut results in them losing out on even more. In that sense, the increased guarantee and "pay cut" works to their advantage to some degree and motivates them to play ball.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'd approach Matthews first, then Cobb.

Adams's upcoming extension is a good point. We need to spend every dime wisely.

Bert's picture

Agree. I think Mathews would be at the top of the list for a pay cut request. Also, if Cobb and/or Mathews do agree to take a pay cut what does Ted do with the cap space? If answer is "nothing" then I really don't care if either takes a cut or not. If Ted uses the extra cash to bring in a vet FA then I say "go for it"

Chris Peterson's picture

Yes we do. I don't think it would be unreasonable to go to Matthews, but feel like Packers need him more than Cobb. But I think if Clay has another average year it might be time.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Yeah, even if they don't expect him to agree it should be made clear that they expect more for their money.

Since '61's picture

There is no reason to cut Cobb's salary. Pay him the guaranteed amount and let him earn the incentive and other contract elements. Any player or employee including Cobb is paid based on the revenue they can generate for their organization. Cobb is a solid player and contributor in the Packer's offense. He is a player that opposing DCs must account for in their game plans. He is great at getting open when Rodgers needs him the most and has made numerous big plays for the Packers. Plus if necessary he is a reliable punt returner. He is great ball security and he has very good hands. I see no credible reason for cutting Cobb's salary and possibly turning a positive player into a contractual problem. It's unnecessary. The amount of money we would gain from doing this would be marginal in terms of cap space. Then what do we do after 2017 season when he has had a great season, give him the money back? Why not just sign every player to a one year contract if we are going to yo-yo their salaries after every season. Move on, leave the offense alone and focus on getting some defenders who can play their position anywhere close to as well as Cobb plays his. Thanks, Since '61

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Hi, Since '61! Out of your 14 sentences above, I agree with 2 or 3.

1. Sure there is a reason to cut Cobb's salary: decreased production.
2. All the guaranteed money has been paid long ago. The "efficient breach" doctrine is long established for the rest of his compensation.
3. Kind of a funny argument from you since you often mention the developments GB is doing. Lots of employee compensation is totally divorced from the revenue they generate, but be that as it may, Cobb's presence doesn't generate hardly any additional revenue for GB (possibly some jersey sales) - they will make almost exactly the same amount of money with or without him.
4. Solid players and contributors don't earn $9.406M/yr in new $.
5. DCs don't game plan for Cobb more than for other NFL average guys.
6/7. Agree that Cobb is good at scramble drills and as a PR.
8. It is flat false to suggest that he has good hands. Too many drops as a WR, though his ball security is good: 1 fumble. As a PR, 8 fumbles in 143 chances (returns and fair catches combined) is bad. Hyde has much better numbers (2 in 79 chances since 2014). Cobb's 1 fumble in 4 returns and 4 Fair Catches in both 2015 and 2016 is terrible (a 1 in 8 chance of fumbling = Cobb doesn't return punts much anymore.) As a KR, 3 fumbles in 82 returns is not terrible, but it's nothing to write home about.
9. Agree that asking for a cut could lead to a locker room problem and future problems should GB get a reputation for this sort of thing.
10/11: Well, it isn't necessary, precisely, and I agree that the gain in cap space (say a $2M cut = 1.3% of cap space) is small, but $2 million bucks is $2M bucks. You know, a million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking real money?
12/13: Yeah, if he has a great season, give him the money back. I got a bonus after good years too. The one year contract suggestion for players is too long to discuss here; it is bad for the product on the field, for fans, probably bad for the most of the players: the super talented players might not fare too badly, if they stay healthy. I don't think your reductio ad absurdam argument works here.
14. Move on is fine, but getting some defenders might be easier if we had more cap space - not that TT is going to use FA even if Cobb took a cut.

Here is the reason I see why GB should not ask Cobb for a pay cut: the team has to be willing to cut Cobb, but that threat is not credible and only leads to hard feelings between the club and Cobb and possibly gives GB a bad reputation with other players, leading to talent acquisition issues down the road.

GB isn't going to cut Cobb. His cap hit is $12.656M, dead money is $6.5M, leaves a cap savings of $6.06M. I'd suggest that Cobb's production was worth $6M, probably a little more, and I don't think GB can replace Cobb for $6M in FA. Even is TT did that, the FA probably would not have that same scramble connection with AR, and there is more reason to see a drop in production from the FA in year one anyway than an increase. I see no replacement on the team other than sliding Nelson into the slot and leaving a gaping hole at outside WR. The drop from Nelson to Allison or a combination of Allison/Davis/Janis is huge outside. Finally, there is considerable reason to think that a healthy Cobb will improve his production in 2017. IMO, odds are very good that Cobb will at least equal his 2016 production, and are decent that he will significantly improve on last year.

As an aside to the author: $41 to $43M in cap space (ovethecap and Sportrac figures) does not equal almost $50M.

croatpackfan's picture

"... the Packers need to start thinking about the future."

Well, you may say a lot of things against Ted Thompson, but you can not say that he is not taking care of Packers future...

Tarynfor12's picture

" Certainly, the Packers don’t need the money. They have close to $50 million in cap space. But that doesn’t mean they should overpay for a player that doesn’t deserve it."

Not agreeing with Cobb pay cut thinking but we certainly need the money as we know a couple of guys who are more likely going to get over what extent is the fear.

PETER MAIZ's picture

I agree with Chris Peterson. Cobb would never get that kind of money in the free market. Cobb should renegotiate to a more realistic amount.

Ryan Graham's picture

Right on the head

Scott Stach's picture

He was about to get those offers before the Packers signed him as a FA in 2015. The dead cap hit is too big this year to do anything. Let him play out this year and then determine next off season what to do with him. Hopefully he, Nelson and Adams can all stay healthy and you could be looking at 3 1,000 yard receivers in 1 year.

Christopher Gennaro's picture

agree he according to reports took less money, to stay in green bay. raiders were offering just under 36 million over three years.

lobo91460's picture

Why should he renegotiate?? They can either pay him or cut him loose! I'm sure Minnesota would be happy to pay him!!

Ferrari Driver's picture

Thumbs up! I liked the article.

In a broader sense, wouldn't it be nice to see all NFL players take about a 70% cut. Did you ever see such a bunch of overpaid prima donnas?

Of course, I'm one of the enablers who goes to the games; pays NFL Sunday Ticket whatever they tell me to pay; and forks out the dough for several overpriced player jerseys; pays for a worthless stock certificate which I proudly hang on the wall; and waits anxiously for every dang game. I am an idiot!

EdsLaces's picture

If we only had Cobb and say Adams....Cobb would get 1000 yards every season, but the problem is we also have Jordy Cook Monty, and Geronimo to get the ball to. Oh wait that really a problem?

stevehj's picture

I would bet those that suggest others take a pay cut, would never even consider it if the cut was on their salaries. I think these kinds of discussions are just a plain waste of time.

Can anyone remember an example where a player took a pay cut and actually had a good season the following year?

Scott Stach's picture

Mason Crosby.

Although his was really more of a restructure because I believe he was able to earn all the original money back by performing well. That's the closest I can think of though.

Ferrari Driver's picture

The kicker

dobber's picture

"Even without him, Green Bay would have Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison. Hopefully, Jared Cook will be back in the fold as well. "

OK...I like Geronimo Allison and all. He looked great in the preseason and made some important grabs when called on during the regular season, but he's still green. I would love to see him develop into a really good pro, but I'm not going to put too much stock in that just yet. Remember Jarrett Boykin? I think Allison could have a higher ceiling than Boykin, but I'm not counting on it. I don't think he's ready to be their #3 WR at this point.

One thing that Ron Wolf always said was one of his key regrets was that he didn't work harder to get quality skill players to put around Brett Favre. TT has good skill players around ARod right now. If he doesn't (or can't) bring back Cook, playing hardball with Cobb could backfire dramatically. Absent Montgomery playing significant snaps at WR, Cobb brings a different skill set from the other WR...that kind of diversity helps.

Razer's picture

... One thing that Ron Wolf always said was one of his key regrets was that he didn't work harder to get quality skill players to put around Brett Favre. TT has good skill players around ARod right now...

I agree with Dobber that having skill guys around Rodgers is key to getting the most out of this team. Working out his contract in 2015 was good fortune for him. Getting injured and not quite living up to the numbers is our misfortune. If you are going to cry about ill timing or injury or not number 1 WR capability then your beef is with the state of NFL football and relative salary scales.

Of course, you could just resign guys for 2 year stints and then pay market value for a guy to replace him if he has an off year OR you can face the piper as you now try to resign Jared Cook to a team friendly contract. We have a lot of hindsight managers that have excellent instincts.

Ferrari Driver's picture

This is what I do remember Ron wolf saying:

...Ron Wolf saying one of his biggest regrets was not keeping Craig Hentrich ...

Chris Peterson's picture

It's a tough question for sure. I'd love to see Randall stay and maybe you give him a year to bounce back. I tell you one thing, I would start talking to Davante now. With Cobb maybe not looking like who we thought he was and with word coming out that Jordy may only want to play another year or two, it wouldn't be bad to spend some of that $50 million on Adams. The cost is probably only going to go up.

lobo91460's picture

Lets have A-Rod, Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb take a pay cut and see if we can resign Sterling Sharpe, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver!!!

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