Time Running Out for Packers, Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb

The NFL free agency period begins in less than five days and the Green Bay Packers and free agent receiver Randall Cobb don’t appear to be close to a new contract to bring him back to the team that drafted him and helped him become the top receiver on the market.

Cobb is just 24 years old, which is something that seems to get lost in this situation.  While teams should be smart about how they allocate their money, we’re talking about a guy who is just a bit older than many rookies just coming into the league.  A guy who also now has four seasons under his belt and had over 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last season.  Needless to say, he’s a favorite target of the guy who throws the ball for the Packers and that counts for a lot, too.  So should the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson break from their traditional thinking, in terms of what they’re willing to typically pay one of their own productive free agents?  If the market is likely to yield more than the team is willing to pay, should they consider that they’re still getting the very prime years of Cobb’s career and lock up the known entity?

Only Ted can answer that question but my guess is that he likely won’t have to.

Every year there’s jockeying that goes on in free agency between teams, players and their agents.  Cobb’s agent is Jimmy Sexton and he has a long history of working teams over for every last dollar.  And he should, that’s his job.  Whether is’t been Sexton’s doing or not, we have seen multiple reports about the type of money Cobb is seeking in a new deal.  I’ve seen $9, $10, and $12 million tossed around.  Reports have also come out that the Packers offered Cobb between $8-$9 million per year on a multi-year deal and it was rejected.  Since that report came out, fans and the media have gone nuts speculating what it means and where any potential negotiations between the Packers and Cobb are headed.  To all of them I say R-E-L-A-X.

That doesn’t mean it’s a foregone conclusion that Cobb stays in Green Bay next season and beyond, but the Packers will do the right thing.  Last year, cornerback Sam Shields was set to hit free agency and test the waters after a few productive seasons on his rookie deal.  Reports emerged a few days before free agency started that Shields and the Packers would not agree on a contract and that Shields would become a free agent.  He had every right to do so after having to sign a one-year tender in 2013 when he was a restricted free agent.  Many had Shields headed out of Green Bay when the time came that other teams could begin talking to him.  He signed with the Packers just hours later.  The deal was in line with some of the top cornerbacks in the league.  I see a similar scenario happening with Cobb and the Packers this year.  He’s going to join the top half of the NFL receivers in terms of pay when this deal gets done, wherever it is.

Give Ted some credit for being able to keep most of his prized veterans in place and keep to his “draft-and develop” philosophy that has had the Packers contending in the NFC for the better part of the past decade.  He’s not afraid to get shrewd and let talks to to the last minute.  He has a line that he won’t cross and no agent has really ever bullied him over it.  Draft-and-develop aside, Thompson has his line drawn with Cobb and the ball is in Randall’s court now.  It’s been argued that the Packers have to keep Cobb at all costs if they’re going to avoid big free agency pay days and instead pay their own but there has to be a walk-away point.

Cobb is a slot receiver and any such reports that he’s asking $12 million per year sound like posturing to me.  I could be wrong and he may find that type of money thrown his way on day one of free agency next week.  The Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of cap space and the Raiders and general manager Reggie McKenzie are very familiar with what Cobb is and can be.  John Dorsey, also formerly with the Packers personnel department, and the Kansas City Chiefs could additionally be looking to free up some space and enter the fray.  If that happens, the money may become too prohibitive for the Packers to continue to play.  What they’ve reportedly already offered Cobb should have sealed the deal, in my opinion.  Good money with a well-respected franchise that almost went to a Super Bowl this past season and, by the way, also with the best quarterback in football.

If Cobb chooses the money, and he has every right to do so, he may find out what former Packers receiver Greg Jennings has likely learned over the past two seasons:  life isn’t as easy when the guy throwing you the ball isn’t that great.  Cobb is likely going to get yet another chance to cash in and get paid in four to five years.  While ideally teams should pay for what a player will do for them, there’s an element of what they’ve already done that creeps into the contracts.  How much can he accomplish in Oakland or Jacksonville compared to what he stands to do in Green Bay?  Derek Carr or Blake Bortles await him if he chooses to depart to those destinations.  No matter how you rearrange the letters in their names, they never spell Aaron Rodgers.

Cobb’s argument that he’s not just a slot receiver, but a dynamic offensive player is a valid one.  He rushed 11 times out of the backfield in 2014 and can also return kicks on special teams.  He’s a “get the ball in his hands” type of player, much like Percy Harvin has been since coming into the league in 2009.  No doubt Cobb is a special talent and should continue to add quite a bit to whichever team he’s on in 2015.  In two playoff games in 2014, Cobb had 15 catches, nearly 12 yards per catch and two touchdowns.  On third down and with six or more yards to go in 2014, Cobb had 14 catches, a 20.9 yards-per-catch average and three touchdowns.  His big grab against last year’s Super Bowl champion New England Patriots sealed a big win in that game.  He’s caught late, clutch game-winning touchdowns on at least two occasions that I can remember off the top of my head (in Detroit in 2012 and in week 17 against the Chicago Bears in 2013).  The results are there and Cobb knows it.  Mid-way through last season, he was asked about a potential contract extension and he responded by saying “I guess I have more to prove. .”, meaning he may have already expected the Packers to be working on a new deal well ahead of free agency.

Cobb bet on himself last year and won.  He’s going to earn some top money for his services over the next four or five years.  Now the question is what else does Cobb want to prove?  Will it be how big his checkbook can be or how much more success he can forge before he’s again at the negotiating table before he reaches 30 years old?



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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35 thoughts on “Time Running Out for Packers, Randall Cobb

  1. I just wish Cobb would get on TV and say I am not coming back to green bay I am going where the money is!!!! This way everyone would stop thinking he will be back because he “WONT” deal with it people!

  2. Have fun playing for a mediocre team with an unproven QB…that sound like fun?? I think things will work out unless there is a huge difference and i don’t think Ted should give in…give a little but not give in….at first i didnt think like this but the more i look at the situation the more i see it won’t be the end of the world…two/three young guys waiting in the wings, will they be like Cobb next year? No…Cobb has an unusual knack to get open when the play breaks down…it won’t be a catastrophe but sure don’t like to see “Packer type” players leave town…it will be a shame but not the end of the world…

  3. I think while it’s Jimmy Sexton’s job to get the best deal for Randall Cobb (as many people have pointed out), many people also forget that it’s Ted Thompson’s job to get the best deal for the Packers, so it’s not like Thompson should just cave in a give Cobb $12 million a year. Two things I would point out that lead me (at least) to not be all that concerned.

    1) Name all the Packers player that has gone out in free agency under Ted Thompson’s watch and gone on to have a successful career. The only case I can think of is Vontae Leach (there may well be more, but overall Thompson’s track record is way better than his peers). For all the fans who gripe about Thompson keeping “his guys” for way too long (Justin Harrell and Derek Sherrod come to mind), the flip side of this is that Thompson almost always retains his star players.

    2) Initially Cobb’s camp announced that it was seeking $12 million a season (I assume it’s Cobb’s camp since it would make little sense for the Packers to announce something like this). Since then, another news bit has been released stating that Packers were balking at giving $10 million a year for Cobb. Again it doesn’t make much sense for the Packers to release this information so we have to assume that it comes from Cobb’s agent as well. So why all of a sudden has Cobb’s asking price come down by $2 million when sides are reported to be as far apart as they were before? It’s because Cobb and his agent both knew that getting $12 million was unlikely (it was far too close to the franchise number to make any sense) and now they’re really getting together and working something out.

    1. Thomas – I think that your post is spot on. Up to this point everything has been posturing. The real negotiations will take place between now and Tuesday and I have hope that TT will find the middle ground required to keep Cobb in Green Bay. Of course if Oakland and Jacksonville really will offer Cobb $12 million per season and Sexton or Cobb are just focused on the money (which I don’t blame Cobb for) there may be nothing TT can do. But if Sexton or any agent are actually interested in their player’s future they would advise Cobb to stay in GB (for now) get your SB ring, build up your numbers with Rodgers and then go for the huge payday in 3-4 years. We’ll see. Thanks, Since ’61

    2. ….it was far too close to the franchise number to make any sense – wise words. But $11MM is a good possibility. It’s got to be worth $1MM to Cobb to stay in GB. So $10MM is GB’s final offer.

      If TT can keep both Cobb and Bulaga for a total of $18MM/yr I say he did a good job.

  4. Once again, Randall is exceptional player and great help in some tricky situations. But his figures was that good because he had Jordy with him on the turf. And Jordy was taking 2 players from the defense. THat gave lot of opportunity for Randall to shine… Without WR like Jordy, what figures Randall can achieve?

    1. The flip side to that question is How much can Jordy achieve without Cobb? Especially when he would be the Packers only legitimate NFL receiver, even including the Packers TEs and RBs. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. I agree with your opinion, but your opinion works vice versa. And we are now talking about not having another star WR and another worser QB to throw him ball. I think this is better situation for Jordy than for Randall…

  5. The New England Patriots, the second best team last season behind the Green Bay Packers, won the super bowl with a cast of no name white guys for receivers. The Packers have one of those guys in Jared Abberderis. I think the Packers would like to have Cobb back but also feel if they don’t that they have other guys ready to step up and take over for him like Abberderis.

    As far as Cobb being a punt returner and kickoff return guy, he was average at best. I’ll take Micah Hyde any day over Cobb on special teams. Cobb is an above average receiver but not a great one in my opinion. Not worth more money than Jordy at this point no way.

    Aaron Rodgers is what makes these receivers special for the most part. I think Cobb is smarter than Greg Jennings and understands this. He’ll sign back with the Pack in my professional opinion.

      1. Thanks Reynoldo. First I was depressed after “the loss” than I tried to post and couldn’t sign on. I tried for weeks and it wouldn’t let me on. Then I drank a 12 pack of Schlitz beer and f’d around one more time the other night and I got on. I had to sign on with some discus whatever that is. I am not a computer guy. Anyway I got on after a long time way I actually thought Al banned me. Slowly trying to get back into it. This free agency or lack thereof interests me.

    1. It’s true that Jennings had personal issues that Cobb doesn’t. Cobb & Bulaga are GB Packers. I just can’t see them leaving.

  6. Losing Cobb would leave the Packers with only one legitimate NFL receiver, specifically Jordy Nelson. Is that the way the Packers want to go into the 2015 season? Ridiculous. Also, losing Cobb creates another need for the draft when the Packers have enough needs to focus on at ILB, DL, TE and possibly OL if Bulaga also moves on. Adams, should have plenty of upside, but who knows? Boykin is probably gone and Abbrederis and Janis are unknown quantities and may both be busts. If Cobb is resigned we go into 2015 no worse than 2014 for the receiving corps. Cobb has great hands, gets open, knows the offense and is a reliable 3rd down receiver for Rodgers. Replacing him will be difficult, especially in the short term. TT claims that he prefers to sign his own FAs. This is his chance to sign his best FA in the Packers 2015 FA class. If not where does he go from here. It may be a mistake for Cobb’s career to leave A. Rodgers as his QB but how big of a mistake will it be for the Packers offense to let him walk? Especially in a year when the Packers have the cap space to cover his salary. Unnecessary and ridiculous. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. We can forget about making a SB run in 2015 if Cobb goes. As you said, we start over again with another new WR. We also aren’t just losing a great player, all those years practicing, watching film, and building that unspoken rapport that takes years to develop….is about to be wiped out. Rodgers will standing with his hands on hips more often than not, frustrated with young WRs who either can’t get open, drop passes, or run the wrong routes. I really hope Cobb isn’t this greedy.

      1. I’m hoping that everything has been posturing up to this point. The Packers have put 5 years on the table. At $9 mil per year that’s $45 mil. I doubt Oakland or Jacksonville want to go for 5 years at $11 or $12 mil., maybe for 4. If that’s the case the Packers are in the game and maybe TT goes to $ 9.5 or even $10.0 for 5. Then it becomes a matter of guaranteed money and signing bonus. In which case, Cobb will need to decide if he wants the slightly extra money from another team or a good shot for at least one SB ring plus building his career stats playing with Rodgers for another 3-5 years. Of course if another team guarantees $12 mil for 4 years there is not much TT can do at that point, but I don’t see that happening. I do see that the Packers will need to come up from their original offer to keep him, unless no one else bites. Thanks, Since ’61

      2. OMG!!! Rodgers is probably already frustrated with the thought of Cobb being gone.

    1. I hope so. I hope next week I find out they sign him just before the deadline.

  7. Cobb has earned every right to test the free agent market. I do remember back in the early 90’s when Sterling Sharpe waited until just before the start of the season and told the Packers he would sit out the season if they didn’t renegotiate his contract to make him the highest paid receiver in the NFL.

    Now I did have a problem with that one and it’s to bad Ron Wolf caved into Sharpe’s threat.

  8. Is it just me or isn’t it weird that the Packers have not ANY of their own free agents? None.
    Nada. Bulaga? House? Nope. Tolzien? Nah….Barclay? Eh.

    1. No it’s weird, and I’ve been thinking the same thing all week. At the office during the day I keep checking to see if the Packers have done something, anything with any of their FA or others cut around the NFL, nothing.

    2. One of the key tenets of negotiating.

      Never negotiate against yourself. Ted’s just waiting to see what the market is for these guys. If they snap at the first offer they get, there may be reasons other than money for not re-signing with GB.

      1. I agree that is a possibility, although the draft-and-develop philosophy would lead me to believe that TT would want to retain certain guys and not let them test the market (i.e. Sam Shields last year).
        Even the lower level guys like Barclay, Sean Richardson, Scott Tolzien, I would’ve thought would’ve been slam dunks.

    3. It is weird that they haven’t signed any of them. I am not sure what’s going.

  9. So why did TT not sign Cobb early in season, after signing Jordy?Jordy was fresh example taking a modest deal, and Cobb was at lower production level in first quarter of season. Was perfect time to lock them both up. Anyone know whether TT made an offer? I thought it was missed opportunity at the time, now even more so. If Cobb leaves, this goes down as big blemish on TT.

    1. TT is once again letting his massive EGO get in the way. You are correct, the deal should’ve been done a long time ago.

    2. You’re right that Cobb was producing at a lower level in the first quarter of the season, so why would you commit an enormous guarantee to a player who looked like he had lost a step and some explosion due to injury and might not be the same player?

  10. i doubt that TT is going to pay top dollar for a slot receiver. I just don’t want him going to an NFC contender. I am fine if he ends up in Oakland or Jacksonville.

  11. His contract should be the same as Nelson’s. That would be very fair especially because I believe Nelson is more durable .

  12. This is the NFL, and agents working for players sometimes do work. His agent might be telling him to go out and test the waters, see if he finds the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just to find out how much cash Cobb could pull in. Then, if he really wants to stay, go back to Ted T. and talk money, take a small cut and be promised a spot when game day comes.

    I haven’t heard anyone all last month asking how much Randall Cobb desires the strong side. Pro players can get big ideas in their sometimes big heads, and perhaps Cobb thinks he should be and could be top dog in 3/4th of any NFL team, when going head to head in competition. Only Cobb knows how that stands in his demands or future plans. You can bet some half cocked GM around the league would want him at any cost. Maybe he’s looking for just that, the bottom line is good ol’ green cash-oh-la-la.

    Looking into Thompson s head, sure he wants the best talent to stick around, but not if money means more than the welfare of the Green Bay Packers, and this is his reason for being a shrewd operator, most of the time getting a few extras on the players to be a part of the tradition he’ll get in being a Packer. This franchise is no longer where they send the screw-balls from around the league, like back in the 1980’s, when .500 was great, and you had players doing stupid things, like Picking up, then dropping Jim McMahon on his head, or whatever.

    To be a part of that, and become accustomed to winning, a small sacrifice (money) is needed. Sure they could make a little more searching around, if they are good enough and Cobb is that good.

    I think he has to love being with the Packers, Winning, playing time, the fans, the stadium, management with class and brains: It’s all anyone would need to work for in a company, unless there’s some kind of locker room dissent going on the press doesn’t know about, like him and Rodgers having words, or being a smart mouth about not getting enough passes, and other things management frowns on.

    Management might know of his last half-season off with medical injuries, and how that plays out in the long run, as in: Jermichael Finley. The entire league got cold on Finley, with good reason, his long term health and one more potentially threatening injury. But, things like that are hard to hide, and nobody has heard Cobb is at risk, so far. Everything works for him, with one exception and that is his two seasons back-to-back, being out, six or seven games in each year, makes some personnel people get cold shoulders.

    Let’s hope it all works out for the team and Cobb in whatever transpires. Perhaps Cobb really thinks he can get 12 Mill annually? Let him go test reality then. Perhaps T.T. thinks he’s only worth 3 to 3.5 mill a year? I have to say whatever happens, I loved his style on field from the 1st time I saw him play. He’s a bullet with hands, and when the ball is anywhere near him, finds a way to bring it in with a half step on the D, and fly.

  13. TT will have to pay out $20MM/yr to sign Cobb & Bulaga. Does he have a choice? Not really. We need to rebuild the defense. We can’t do that if we are springing leaks everywhere on offense. TT has to pony up market value for his top guys. He did it with Shields last year.

    House/Williams seem like tougher calls. His last offer to Williams was $8MM/2 yrs. Market is probably $15MM/3 yrs so I think TW is gone. And TT isn’t even talking to House so apparently he is not bidding for his services. Yet he keeps Peppers who is 35 yrs old for $9.5MM/yr. I don’t get it.

    As much as it hurts TT to do so, he will pay up to keep Cobb/Bulaga. He has to.

  14. And logic prevailed. The FA market allowed Cobb to get an extra $1MM/yr out of GB. I can live with that quite happily. Now let’s go get Bulaga. My prediction: $8MM/yr. Then, if TW takes SEA offer as rumored, I’d expect TT to make a run at House. I’d still like to see GB get one star import in FA, be it TE or Defense.

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