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Point of Veau: Don't Worry, Randall Cobb Isn't Going Anywhere

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Point of Veau: Don't Worry, Randall Cobb Isn't Going Anywhere

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb by Benny Sieu—USA TODAY Sports.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb by Benny Sieu—USA TODAY Sports.

In light of a game during which Randall Cobb accumulated a career-high 10 receptions for a career-high 129 yards this past Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers fans can see the expiration date on the wide receiver's contract and are getting nervous.

"Can we give Randall Cobb a contract extension at halftime?" asked one.

"I just pray we don't lose him this offseason," said another.

These are real comments from real fans.

I'm here to assuage your fears. Don't worry, folks.

The contract extension may be consummated any moment, or it may not come until after the season, but rest assured, Cobb isn't going anywhere.

Crowd source an answer to the question, "Who was the last elite player the Packers allowed to walk away his first opportunity at free agency?" and you'll get responses such as Vonnie Holliday, Adam Timmerman, Aaron Taylor and Bryce Paup.

Consider that the only player from that list that left the Packers this millennium was Holliday (2002). Paup parted ways with Green Bay in 1994!

The larger point here being, under general manager Ted Thompson, the Packers by and large take care of their own. It's all part of the draft-and-develop philosophy you've likely heard so much about if you're an avid follower of the team.

One Pro Bowl player almost got away in 2005 when Aaron Kampman signed an offer sheet with the Minnesota Vikings, but in one of the first major decisions of his tenure, Thompson matched the offer, keeping Kampman with the organization through 2010.

The best players Thompson allowed to walk in their first opportunties at free agency might be offensive lineman Daryn Colledge and quarterback Matt Flynn, decisions influenced in part due to salary-cap limitations and mitigated in part due to the compensatory draft picks their departures netted.

Both Colledge and Flynn helped the Packers win a Super Bowl in 2010, but even so, neither can probably be characterized as "elite."

Cobb, meanwhile, most definitely fits such categorization. Through 10 games, the slot superstar has 54 catches for 779 yards and leads the league with 10 touchdown receptions among wide receivers, all while having to share the football with Jordy Nelson, who's having a superb season of his own.

The versatility Cobb offers as a return specialist and occasional running back only increases his value.

Even though Cobb would be a hot commodity on the free-agent market, there's little chance the Packers allow him to sign with another team, especially considering he still has five more seasons before he hits 30 years old.

By locking up Cobb to a long-term contract they'd be able to provide quarterback Aaron Rodgers with continuity at the wide receiver position through essentially the end of his career as Rodgers is under contract through 2019 and Nelson through 2018.

Nelson averages just south of $10 million per season in his third contract signed with the Packers. Greg Jennings averages $9 million in his third contract signed with the Minnesota Vikings when he left Green Bay.

The exact figure Cobb is expected to make is up for speculation, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him agree to slightly less than the deals inked by Nelson and Jennings.

Coincidentally, the decision to keep Cobb could be impacted by similar choices on offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga and cornerback Davon House, each of whom also have contracts expiring after the 2014 season.

The Packers are currently about $8 million underneath the 2014 salary cap, according to OvertheCap.com, but will be able to carry that amount over to next season when it's anticipated the salary cap will rise even more thanks to revenue from the NFL's television deals kicking in.

Whether the Packers will be able to keep Cobb, Bulaga and House all under contract for 2015 and beyond remains to be seen, but there's little doubt that Cobb will be the priority.

 

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

I hope they keep Cobb.

Looking ahead, I really like how our WR position will look next year.
Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Abbrederis, Janis, + Boykin and whoever else they get.

Adams and Janis will benefit from a full NFL season of work. Abbrederis will use the time to get stronger and I think will come back next year and have an impact. When Rodgers talks highly of a player months after he was put on IR, then you know he was excited to have him.

Looking ahead to next year, the WR's will be one of the position that I will be looking forward seeing how the rookie WR's develop from year 1 to year 2.

Evan's picture

I tweeted Aaron Taylor but think I meant Adam Timmerman...I love those mid-90s Super Bowl offensive lines. Frank Winters! Earl Dotson!

Actually, though, maybe Mike Wahle above both of them? Did he get a 2nd contract with GB?

What's also amazing is even if you expand the parameters beyond "first opportunity at free agency," what players has TT let go/not re-signed that have gone on to perform at a high level elsewhere.

I think that list starts and ends with Cullen Jenkins. That's a pretty impressive track record.

EDIT: Ross Verba?

I'm officially fallen into a late-90's Packers offensive linemen rabbit hole.

aj's picture

Even Jenkins hasn't performed as well as his contract would make you believe. Another could be Scott Wells, but he hasn't been healthy with the Rams. TT is very good at what he does, it's tough to take his whole body of work and not be impressed.

Evan's picture

That's a good point about Cullen - the regret factor with him probably has more to do with the inability to replace him than his actual performance since leaving.

Wells was another good non-signing, in my opinion. Especially when you take into account how EDS played last year and now Linsley for a fraction of the price.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

All of the signs I have seen point to Cobb being a savvy guy. I think he is smart enough to make sure he gets paid for his work, and also smart enough to know that a lot of his success rolls through Mr 12.

KenEllis's picture

TT does not let his draft picks walk and he won't let one of his best picks ever, Randal Cobb, walk.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

I'm sure it will be part of the pitch that #12 means more receptions, more yards, a few Pro Bowls and therefore more endorsements. Just ask #85. What was his name again? One way or another I can't see us losing Mr. Cobb

Samson's picture

RC may not leave but endorsements? --- One endorsement on either coast is worth a dozen in the midwest. ----- Plus, RC is in his 4th year & AR hasn't propelled him to the Pro-Bowl yet. --- With Jordy around RC may never reach his earning potential in GB.

Clay Zombo's picture

You understand that Cobb has had trouble staying healthy right. Thats why he hasnt made a pro bowl, not Rodgers or Nelsons fault.

Evan's picture

Trouble staying healthy? Outside of a broken leg last year, I don't recall any reoccuring, nagging injuries or regularly missed games. He played in 33 of 35 games in 2011 and 2012.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

Who will realistically throw to him on either coast to produce the numbers needed for the endorsements?

lou's picture

I believe Cobb will be signed but the question is "when". The wait on Shields ended up with the team paying considerably more than they expected and it should pay off, his recent missed tackles and being a step off on some plays is due to the missed time. Best case is if Cobb is signed before the end of the season. It is nice to see Adams improving especially since Boykin has regressed so much, his hands have become spring boards for incompletions. That was totally unexpected based on how well he played last year and all the camp praise McCarthy heaped upon him. Look for Janis to make a move in camp next season to get some time in the rotation when the season starts.

Evan's picture

"Cobb has no reason not to wait as long as possible."

Risk of serious injury.

4thand1's picture

Case and point, Carson Palmer.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Shields was publicly upset when GB made him play for his tender rather than giving him a contract extension. It worked out for Shields when he played well AND did not get hurt. As for Cobb, you might well be right, but I at least am not certain whether GB offered a contract extension, or if they did, whether it was for moderate money. My own guess is that TT did not make an offer, wanting to see if Cobb was fully healthy, body and mind. Cobb has been injured, so the feeling so prevalent among the young that they are invincible should have been tempered by experience. You're also right, though, that Cobb might be tempted to wait for FA the more games he gets under his belt (i.e. the closer he gets to FA).

denniseckersley's picture

It wasn't Free Agency, and it wasn't the wrong decision either, but Brett Favre was the last elite player that packers let go of...

FITZCORE1252's picture

Well, he did retire initially.

denniseckersley's picture

I always assumed we'd be letting go of Julius after this season and we'd save $10 million that way. But I don't want to let go of Julius anymore....

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree. I don't see any OLB on the roster that leads me to believe that Peppers is expendable. Both sides had to know that the $12 million base salary in the 2nd year would not be realized unless Peppers played at an elite level. I don't think there would be any hard feelings if GB asked to re-negotiate the base salary down to something more reasonable. The structure of the contract that left $5 million dead money is Peppers' leverage, and I think the dead money structure was done on purpose. It is very unlike TT to have $5 million in dead money for the whole team, much less due to one player. We will see how Peppers plays down the stretch (and in the playoffs too, I hope) to see whether he wears down or if he gets even better as he gets more comfortable at OLB. Looking at overthecap's salaries for OLBs, it would not surprise me if TT offers to pay Peppers $6.5 to $8.5 million for next season (that is, more than Neal $ and less than CMIII $).

lucky953's picture

Not only is he talented but the way he goes about his job is very valuable to the team culture. I sat next to an older couple from Kentucky at the game, Packer fans who had Lambeau on their bucket list. When I asked why the Packers, one thing they gushed about was what an impressive kid Cobb was at Kentucky. An exemplary citizen and teammate. No way does TT let him go somewhere else. Core player.

4thand1's picture

The more this gets talked about, the quicker he gets signed.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I agree that Cobb isn't going anywhere, and I was never really worried about it. I can see why some are, but TT gave a nice contract to Jordy Nelson even though Nelson is older. I use the logic that TT wouldn't pick Nelson with his age over a younger Cobb, so a Cobb contract must be in the works. There are plenty of places we can save money at, too, and we're sitting pretty on the salary cap.

I actually expect Raji to get signed, too, and I expect Tramon WIlliams to walk. Raji should come cheap, and I think he'll value a long-term contract at this point. Letting Williams go will save a lot of money, and we already have his replacement in House. Does anybody feel uncomfortable with the CB's of Shields, Hayward, and House? I certainly don't. I'm still mad about losing Rolle, and so far Goodson hasn't shown much, so I do expect that we will draft another CB after losing Williams.

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm one of the guys who posted a "sign him already" about two games ago. It was a euphoria of the moment thing. I forgot that with the change in cap rules there is really no reason to sign a guy in season anymore. It used to be practically an annual event for TT - someone was getting extended in-season to use that cap money. It might happen occasionally now, but I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see another one in TT's tenure.

I do not think House will be cheap. I think Bulaga is getting better, but he will be allowed to test the market due to his injury history. After years of limited success with drafting lineman, TT has drafted two rookies who were able to start right away, and I think that bodes poorly for Bulaga. Incidentally, I also wonder how much of the re-appearance of the screen game is due to the play at center. Williams also will be allowed to test the market. I'd be shocked if Kuhn is back.

Peppers' cap hit jumps from a modest $3.5M this year to $12M next year, but the Packers take a $5M hit on the accelerated signing bonus if they let him walk. So everyone has been calling this a one year deal, but really, would you rather have Peppers count $12M against your cap to play for you next year, or count $5M against you while playing for someone else? My point is Peppers' money has to be factored in when they start deciding who to sign and how much they can afford to pay. I'm not sure if they can sign Cobb and House and keep Peppers next year (and maybe Bulaga or Williams if they don't draw much interest), but I sure hope they can, because this looks like a three-year window to me, and right when #12 is at his peak.

RCPackerFan's picture

The other way to look at it. Why wouldn't Cobb want to stay in Green Bay. When he looks at previous WR's who left Green Bay to go else where (Jennings, Jones), they aren't lighting it up.

I understand that money speaks volumes, but when a player has an option to make a few more millions but has to go to a new team, learn a new system, play with a new QB is it worth it? When you already know what your going to do here...

I am a biased fan and I get that. But I look at it, why wouldn't you want to stay with the team that drafted you, taught you, and also the fact that your playing with arguably the best QB in the league? I look at it he will have a lot more opportunities to be great in Green Bay then elsewhere.
Also you know every year you have a realistic chance of going to the Super Bowl.

Chazman's picture

I can see the Packers signing Cobb to a contract that mirrors Jordy's first extension. It probably will be for more money than Jordy got then, but it will be a 3 year deal which gives him the opportunity to go for another contract when he's 28. That way the Packers won't have to break the bank and Cobb gets another bite of the apple later on. Win - Win.

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