Cory’s Corner: Packers must hang on to Randall Cobb

If Aaron Rodgers is the heartbeat of the Packers, Randall Cobb is the breath of life.

The asking price for Cobb may seem steep, but it’s really not when you compare him to Victor Cruz.

Cruz signed a five-year $43 million extension in the summer of 2013. He was coming off his first Pro Bowl season that saw the salsa-dancing slot receiver catch 86 balls for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. His average salary is $7.6 million per year.

As a tender 24-year-old, Cobb is four years younger than Cruz, but is also worlds better.

Cruz runs and catches well. But Cobb jumps off the page. He has lined up everywhere on the field looking to run circles around potential mismatches. In Cobb’s first Pro Bowl season, he caught 91 balls for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also rushed 11 times for 37 yards and returned 14 punts and one kickoff.

The only thing Cobb doesn’t do is vacuum the locker room.

Cobb wants an average of $9 million a year. The Packers have to find a way to make it happen. Not just because he’s one of the best wideouts in the game that will blossom and get better and not because he’s dynamic and can do multiple things. It’s because the Packers would have a significant drop-off at receiver if their Kentucky jitterbug were allowed to leave.

Jordy Nelson signed his deal last summer for an average of $9.76 million. And that was for a receiver that just turned 29.

Cobb is different. He’s quicker than Nelson and has the best opportunity to eclipse the 100-catch plateau for the fourth time in team history and first since Robert Brooks did it in 1995.

But it’s not just because of the receivers that Cobb must be signed. It’s mainly because of the tight ends. The Packers don’t have anyone that defenses fear in the middle of the field. Sure Richard Rodgers showed flashes last year, but that’s not enough to give guys like Nelson and Cobb more breathing room on the outside. And we all know what happened with Brandon Bostick.

There are loads of people that never liked him, but the loss of Jermichael Finley still stings this team. His playmaking ability made defenses choose, because a linebacker couldn’t stay with him and a defensive back couldn’t tackle him.

If the Packers had a dominant tight end, it would be easier to swallow letting Cobb walk. But since the Packers are barely getting by, bringing Cobb back is of the utmost importance.

And what happens to Nelson if Cobb doesn’t come back? Nelson would never see single coverage and his numbers would nosedive. Those two receivers complement each other very well. Nelson is arguably the best boundary receiver in the game and Cobb carves up defenses with bucketloads of knee-buckling third down and late-game grabs.

Of course there is also that little detail about leaving a Hall of Fame signal caller to go to a team with mediocre quarterback play. Guys like Greg Jennings and James Jones come to mind.

The Packers worry about having to give Cobb a long-term contract, which would make him the highest-paid Packers’ receiver. Nelson’s four-year $39 million deal was very team friendly and if the Packers let Cobb get to the open market, a long-term deal may be the only thing that keeps him in Green Bay.

But even if that happens, Nelson or Cobb wouldn’t let that destroy their relationship or the locker room. And you can bet that Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t let that happen either.

This is a passing league. Right after an elite passer in the pecking order is a steady stable of receivers. The Packers have that right now. In order to maintain that momentum and double-down on the five or six great years Aaron Rodgers has left, the Packers must do this deal.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


17 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Packers must hang on to Randall Cobb

  1. I tend to disagree with the must part!!! It wille nice to get him signed but a must is not even close, It is a must to keep the O line intact. Keeping Aaron upright and healthy is way more important than having Cobb catch passes! What good would he be if Aaron is not tossing the rock anyways?

  2. When the word ‘must’ is applied to a situation,you have conceded that there is no viable option……Captain James T Kirk would never allow that thinking and nor should the Packers….Kobayashi Maru does not exist. 🙂

    1. Despite I really, really like Randall, I do not think there is anyone except Aaron who is must to… If Randall and Packers find common ground, I will be very glad. But if Randall prefer Jennings destiny, let him go… Randall, please stay. For Packers and yours sake…

  3. By saying he wants $9 million a year, Cobb basically wants more than Cruz but will take less than Jordy’s $9.76 million average. Cobb is young enough to take a 3-4 year contract and still get another bite at the Free Agency apple.
    I don’t see anybody anywhere arguing that Cobb is less valuable than Cruz. They can certainly structure a contract to give Randall about 34-38 million over 4 years without that much difficulty. This news makes me more confident that we will see Cobb in a Packers’ uniform for the next few seasons.

  4. The prose is hyperbolic and it begs the essential question. Sure, GB should re-sign Cobb. Must means at any price. But surely there is a price at which TT should allow Cobb to walk. So of course “must” should be qualified with an unless, like unless Team A offers him $12 million per year. One of the best traits of TT is his willingness to let players walk when necessary, like Wahle and Rivera.

    Many compare Cobb to Cruz and suggest that he should get Cruz money or more. The stats and situations however were vastly different. 1st, Cruz’ stats were better than Cobb’s flat out. Cruz had a 1536 yard season with an gaudy 18.7 yd. average and 9 TDs, with 25 receptions over 20 yards, and 9, count them, 9 receptions over FORTY yards in that season alone. Cobb had 24 receptions over 20 yds last season, but just 4 over 40 yards for his entire career. Cruz next season had a 1,092 yd season with a 12.7 ave. and 10 TDs, but some point out that Hakeem Nicks missed time that year and only had 692 yards that season, meaning that Cruz garnered more attention. And Eli Manning is not Aaron Rodgers. Cruz has only fumbled twice in his career. Cobb has fumbled 11 times (I believe 5 were on returns). Cruz does not return kickoffs or punts. I view Cruz and Cobb overall as largely in the same class. Not sure which has more value overall.

    Cruz was a RFA when he signed the extension and was under contract via a $2.86 million tender, and had to take into account the possibility of getting injured. Cobb is an UFA or will be in days. Cruz’ extension was for $8.6 million per season in new money, but adding in the RFA years, his average was only $7.6 million. [Nelson’s contract is usually described as for $9.75 million per year, but also for $8.25 million taking into consideration his last contracted season.] While Cruz got $15.6 million guaranteed (36%), a lot of that money comes early in the contract. His 2018 yr. has no guaranteed money: he can be cut. 2017 yr. has only 1.9 million guarantee prorated, so he can reasonably be cut as well at that time.

    What TT needs to do is offer a fair contract to Cobb at his market value, discounting possible outliers from some needy team like Oakland with huge cap space. Some believe $8 million should be the max offer. Others 8.5 or 9 million. For me, the guarantee and the structure of that guarantee is more important, but $8.5 to $9 is fine, depending on the structure. Cory’s logic leads to contracts like the one Shields landed. If Cobb is looking for $9 million, that makes me confident that he and TT will reach an agreement that satisfies both sides’ needs.

  5. The Packers would surely be in trouble if they let Cobb walk. The only receivers with any experience would be Nelson and Adams. Abbrederis and Janis are both question marks seeing as how the Packers offense is one that takes time to adjust to and we can only hope that Adams makes the jump. Boykin is essentially useless and any draft pick will definitely need time to adjust. We are going to need to start off with a punch and keep the jabs going if we want to clinch home field advantage next season.

  6. Been told by someone in the NFL offices that if the Packers drop the ball, the Panthers are ready to make Cobb a 4yr, 40million offer and that the Packers do not want to franchise tag him, either. Playing with fire…

    1. Do we know which side is holding things up? “Playing with fire” leads to an inference that TT is holding things up. If I were a UFA, I’d want to wait until March 7 so I could hear the offers from other teams, exactly like Shields did last year.

  7. If TT doesn’t get this done, this would set the Packers offense back in a huge way and I think he knows that. Sure Adams will be “Better” in 2015 but he’s not a “Slot Receiver”. Cobb is worth more than Cruz and if the $9 million range is what it takes then sign him. While having the best QB in the NFL makes all receivers better, but like we saw in Seattle and again against New England and Buffalo Nelson can be taken out of the game for the most part. I know Jordy scored on the slant at end of 1st half against Revis, but was quiet before and after.

    With the cap increasing even more than most thought it would this year, DUMPING Jones and Hawk, the Packers can easily afford Cobb and Bulaga. Both are as close to “Must Signs” as the Packers can get IMO. Cobb is the epitome of “Draft and Develop.

  8. As I have posted previously on this issue, after Aaron Rodgers Cobb is the best player on the Packers offense. He has great hands, can run routes from any where in any formation, get open and even carry the ball as an RB a few times per game. Most importantly he knows the Packers offense. TT, MM and A. Rodgers must know that losing Cobb would be a serious set back to the Packers offense. It would probably take 2 seasons to get another player to where Cobb is today and they still may not be as good as Cobb. Cory’s point about the TE situation is an excellent one and the lack of a dominant TE is all that holds back the Packers O from being dominant. If we lose Cobb we end up without a TE or a viable slot receiver option. Ridiculous to allow that with Aaron Rodgers as your QB. I don’t think the salary amount should be the issue, I think it may be the length of contract as a possible sticking point. I think that TT will get the job done as he has in the past with his own FAs. It may be that Cobb’s agent is holding out to see Cobb’s value on the open market. We should know one way or the other in 2-3 weeks. Thanks, Since ’61

  9. You left the five most important words off the end of the headline – “…if the money is right.”

    There’s only so much coin to go around and what you spend on Cobb is money you can’t spend on your defense, which, truth be told, still needs a lot of help. DL, ILB and CB are once again soft spots.

    Get him for $7-8MM per year with a lot of that tied to incentives, or wish him well and stay true to next man up. Having $40MM tied up in three guys that play throw and catch is a pretty sound recipe for ensuring the other 50 dudes leave you wanting.

    Fortunately, TT has proven to be adept at finding WR talent. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his acumen finding players for the defensive positions mentioned above and it’s going to require that the Packers look adn spend outside the organization for help in those areas. Otherwise we’re going to witness the balance of AR’s career having a lot of Seattleish endings.

  10. Is a must because if we do not we must find another top flight receiver and that would cost more in money ,time and adjustment. TT gambled and lost, should have extended a long time ago. Need another TE either way.

  11. Reading this makes me feel we draft a TE in first two rounds after we sign Cobb.

    I think the Packers will offer Cobb a great deal. Cobb will take it regardless if the Panthers or another also ran offers him another $500,000 or so a year. He isn’t stupid. He has a chance of winning a Super Bowl with GB and knows Aaron Rodgers will get him the ball. A so -so QB throws too many behind him and a big safety or LB ends his career. These WR’s think about that.

  12. I think it’s frankly bizarre that we’re even debating whether or not this is a good idea. The Packers could use 1 more competent WR, letting Cobb walk would be a death knell for another Super Bowl run unless that money isn’t immediately re-invested in the defense in a big way.

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