Cory’s Corner: If Cobb is out, Thomas should be in

The longer that Randall Cobb is not a Packer, it becomes more and more likely that he won’t be wearing a “G” on his head.

I think Cobb would be a great fit for the Packers. But obviously the Packers aren’t going to throw $11-$12 million at a slot receiver. It also doesn’t help that Cobb has only netted 14 percent of the team’s targets since 2011.

And if Cobb makes the foolish decision to take the money while catching passes from an average quarterback, perhaps the Packers should go another route by making an overture for Julius Thomas.

The last time the Packers had a tight end that was among the team leaders in receiving was in 2011. Jermichael Finley’s 92 targets placed him third behind Pro Bowler Greg Jennings (101) and Jordy Nelson (96). Finley was also third in receiving yards (767) and touchdowns (8).

Tight end is a separation position in the NFL. Either you have Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Thomas. Or you’ve got somebody else. Thomas had the luxury of being Peyton Manning’s safety valve. He was tied for fourth in the NFL with 12 touchdowns — and he missed three games.

Right now, the Packers have over $33 million in salary cap space. Last year, the Packers were a few plays away from advancing to the Super Bowl. Ron Wolf smartly added guys like Santana Dotson, Don Beebe and Desmond Howard in free agency. But Keith Jackson was arguably the most important, by catching a team-high 10 touchdowns en route to a Super Bowl title.

Graham leads all tight ends with an average salary of $10 million followed by Gronkowski’s $9 million next season. Even though Thomas is an injury-risk by only playing in 32 out of a possible 64 games during his four years as a pro, he has proven that he is one of the best. He can get separation from defensive backs, and isn’t afraid to attack linebackers.

The biggest knock on Thomas has been his blocking ability. But that shouldn’t matter all that much, because Finley didn’t really care about blocking either.

Like Cobb, Thomas is a versatile threat. He can line up in a typical tight end formation and kill opponents with seam routes. He can also line up outside, use the sideline and his 6-foot-5 frame to his advantage by getting just about any ball he wants.

The Packers have kicked the tires on Richard Rodgers. Let’s be honest, it’s nothing special. After looking like a lost sheep for much of the season, Rodgers finally appeared capable in December. The Packers don’t have the time to wait and see if he plummets into a sophomore slump.

And we all know what happened to Brandon Bostick.

The Packers’ tight end position is crying for help. The NFC North as a whole doesn’t have overly-talented linebackers and it’s time to attack that weakness with arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the league.

Losing Cobb might cause the offense to lose a step or two, but bringing in Thomas would even things out in a hurry. And more importantly, it would take some pressure off young receivers Davante Adams, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis — three guys that played a total of 19 games last year.




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


42 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: If Cobb is out, Thomas should be in

  1. Finley was our best blocking tight end actually… And calling Rodgers “nothing special” seems ridiculously preemptive. Remember jmikes rookie season?

    1. Exactly Kevin!! Finley was the guy that could never catch a pass as a rookie. I’ll never forget a 4th down against MN and they went to Finley who dropped the damn ball than blamed it on Rodgers for a poor pass. lol.. Oh man, those were the days.

      Richard Rodgers I thought was light years better as a rookie than Finley was. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he seems grounded and I expect him to get better and become a great player and hell of a draft pick by TT.

      Having said that, I do agree with you on Thomas. I think he would be a great addition especially if we lose Cobb. There’s two guys possibly three guys that are under the radar people are forgetting about that I think the Packers are cautiously privately optimistic on. They are Jeff Janis, Jared Aberderris and Carl Bradford. The next couple days could tell you more about how they feel about these guys.

      1. I can still remember the play against Chicago. Finley is out wide and either Cobb, or Jones are in the slot (I forget which), they swing out to catch the pass behind Finley, and for the play to work Finley has to block the DB in front of him. Needless to say, Finley completely whiffs on the DB who is half his size and it results in a busted play for negative yards. If Finley makes even half an effort to make the block, the receiver has a clear lane for 50 yds to the end zone…/smh

        1. There’s a play in Minnesota if memory serves where it’s basically the same thing and Finley just doesn’t block. He was out for the rest of the drive IIRC.

          1. Ya, that’s probably the same play, I couldn’t recall if it was Chicago or Minnesota, all that sticks out in my mind is the whiff, lol!

  2. Pretty harsh criticism of Richard Rodgers after only one season. Julius Thomas didn’t even score a touchdown till his third year. But, I’d be ecstatic if the Packers signed him. He’d be a great red zone target for A-Rodg.

    Jordan Cameron and Anthony Fasano could bring a lot to the team, as we’ll, if Julius Thomas is too expensive.

  3. Sign Cobb, Thomas and Bulaga. Then the offense is done. Focus on defense in the draft. Next! Thanks, Since ’61

        1. Yes they do. But, that would be a bold set of moves and as we both know, bold is not TT’s middle name. Even if we lost Cobb, I’d be happy with Bulaga and Thomas, and a WR in the top 3 rounds of the draft. My fear is that we will lose everybody: Cobb & Bulaga, House & Williams; and, sign nobody of note. About 3 days to go before the answers start coming in.

          1. Archie – I agree that would be bold for TT. I think that if we lose Cobb TT will hold on to Bulaga. As for House and Williams, I see House getting re-signed and Williams moving on. Getting back to Cobb, it will probably take $9.5 to $10.5 to keep him. However, that salary plus a good shot at an SB ring and playing with AR should be enough. If he really wants just the $$$ then he’ll go to Oak or Jacksonville. But for a difference of only $1-2 mil per year I don’t see why he would do that. I think the Pack is still in it with him if TT comes up over $9 mil for 5 years. Thanks, Since ’61

            1. They haven’t even talked to House, not once since the season ended. If I was House I’d be a tad ticked off it’s Saturday morning, I can start talking to teams at 3pm today, and the team that knows me best hasn’t even spoke to me about 2015.

              1. I think they plan to start Hayward at CB next year with Hyde back in his customary slot position. This is what happens when you hit gold in the draft the way they did with Clinton-Dix last year. They have more flexibility now, that they didn’t have before last season. If they’re looking to add depth in the draft, maybe they can snatch Quinton Rollins in the second or third round.

            2. As I understand you, ‘Since 61, you’d be okay with $10 million (from a prior post) and apparently $10.5 million per yr (directly above) to re-sign Cobb, but not $12 million per yr.

              I think it would be interesting for each of us to set our max. offer for each FA as I did in “Early Predictions for Green Bay Packers Free Agents” before we find out what actually happens. I think $10.5 million for Cobb is too rich for my blood unless the guarantee is very low.

              1. Reynoldo – Speaking only about Cobb I’d go for as high as $12 mil, but only for 3 seasons. I’d do 10.5 for 4 years and up to 9.5 for 5 years. I’m not sure how much would be guaranteed but I’m confident that TT has that part figured out. As for Bulaga, I think that the range for him is 7.5 to 9.0. Again, I’d grade it out based on # of seasons. I wonder how strongly MM and AR are lobbying for each or both of these guys and how much weight TT gives to their input. We don’t have much longer to wait now. Thanks, Since ’61

            1. RELAX didn’t quite work out this year. Was worst loss and end to a season since I’ve been a fan (1960). TT usually leaves us with holes that sabotage our season. Examples: No RB pre-Eddie Lacy. No S in 2013. No ILB in 2014. God knows what we will be missing this year. WR? TE? ORT? DL? LB? CB?

              1. Archie – what an idiotic thing to say. That collapse was not predictable, nor repeatable. GB was a better team than Seattle and everyone that isn’t a hater knows it. There is plenty of blame to go around (coaches, special teams, offense and defense) – but NONE of it should be placed at the feet of TT.

                The team he constructed was the best Packer team since 2010, and the 4th or 5th best Packer team since the Lombardi days. (95, 96, 97, 10 possibly were better). GB was the best team in the NFL this year and they choked. That doesn’t fall at the feet of the GM.

              2. I know. I feel the same been a fan since 63 I guess. Just felt giddy from cutting Jones, Hawk Slocum and now signing Cobb. They have no excuse not to upgrade even more. Helll 2 ILBS a DT CB and especially a TE, I love the talent on roster incl practice sqaud. And we got so much better by subtraction for all the reasons you mentioned, I guess I am telling myself to relax but I must admit I am expecting a lot after that debacle in Sea. and want nothing but results this time.

  4. Yeah, lets pay someone big money knowing that he will only play on average half of the season…

  5. I have been calling for the Signing of Thomas and then grab a vet receiver like a Cecil Shorts or who knows maybe an Andre Johnson. Throw 7 or 8 million a year for 4 years to Thomas and throw something like 4 or 5 million a year for Johnson or 4 million a year for Shorts and you just made your team better with the so called asking price for Cobb.

    1. If the Packers signed Shorts and Thomas you’ve upgraded in a big way. I think Shorts would be a Cobb clone in this offense. How many “Green Bay Packers” wide receivers have we saw leave for for greener pastures only to be JAG for their new teams. Jennings, Walker, Freeman, they all left for more money never putting up numbers like they did in Green Bay. The Packers have a system (and great QB’s) that allow these guys to put up remarkable numbers. No one wants Cobb to return more than me, but if we pay a WR over $10 million a season I’d like one that runs a sub 4.4 40, is over 6’3″.

      BUT, at the end of the day I highly doubt Ted forks over the money to Thomas. Actually I think there’s about ZERO chance on signing Thomas, but it sure would be nice!

      1. You know what really pisses me off an I am sure it does to TT as well. It’s the fact we had Charles Johnson on our team one year too early. Now the damn Vikings got him for long term. One of the few young players TT had in his hand and let go. He’s going to be a star and he should be a Packer damnit!! That one hurts. If we had him coming into his now third season I wouldn’t even care about Cobb leaving. Now we need Janis to be Johnson.

        1. OMG me too!!!! I KNEW that kid was going to be something when the Packers drafted him, hopefully Janis can do the same. The knock on Janis coming out is he’s a “Body Catcher”, doesn’t catch the ball well with his hands. The positive twist to that is he went to the Vikings, they always mess up something good!

  6. Suggestion: If Cobb walks, don’t throw the money away on Thomas. Use the free agency route to sign an experienced ILB, Tampa Bay’s Mason Foster, and then draft in the 2nd round a very good, all-around TE, U. of Miami’s Clive Walford.

  7. If this happened I’d be beyond shocked. This is a Ron Wolf type move. Not a TT move. With the cap ramifications of signing Thomas and Bulaga being close to 20 mil a season, I very much doubt Bakhtiari and Lacy would fit (and Daniels and Heyward/Hyde) next year..

    1. I am figuring Bulaga at $7.5 million, not more than $8 million per year. Not sure what Thomas or Cameron Jordan would be, but I think we’d be closer to $16 million than $20 million.

  8. I would love Cobb back ,but I do not want to over spend on a smallish receiver. My favorite free agents are in order of priority, Fairly, Spikes, and Shorts(wr). Might have to bite bullet on Bulaga, even though I don’t like his durability, there are no other options. However, if price gets ridiculous Barclay would bb fine.

  9. My thoughts since the beginning of this $10 to $12 contact talk for Cobb have been sign someone else. Torry Smith, Cecil Shorts, Kearse, even Britt. Sign a TE like Lance Kendricks, Virgil Green, even Gresham and a ILB like Foster. Any of those WR & TE with Nelson, Adams and Aaron Rodgers would be enough to keep the offense in the top 5 or better and we’d improve the defense.

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