Teams make plenty of decisions based on talent and production, but most of the time it comes down to money.
The player that may be in the financial crosshairs in the next couple years is Randall Cobb. That may sound shocking and maybe even alarming to some, but his production hasn’t been the same since 2014.
Cobb turns 27 in August and the question must be asked if he still is in fact Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 option or if he has dropped a peg to No. 3. Last year, Davante Adams had 19 percent of the passing targets compared to Cobb’s 13 percent. Adams had the best season of his three-year career and showed that he can be counted on to make plays when it matters most.
Cobb has shown difficulty getting through press coverage and when he was asked to take on the No. 1 receiver role when Jordy Nelson missed all of 2015, his warts were exposed. Cobb’s upside is that he had zero drops last season despite playing through hamstring and ankle issues. Compare that to Adams’ five drops and two fumbles last year and Cobb is the sure thing.
So if his production doesn’t speak to you, the money will talk. Cobb has a cap hit of $12.6 million this season, which is No. 3 on the team behind Rodgers’ $20.3 million and Clay Matthews’ $15 million. In 2018, Cobb moves up to No. 2 with a cap hit of $12.7 million. Those are big numbers for a guy that hasn’t been very consistent.
And the numbers work out for the Packers even more in 2018. If Cobb gets cut next year, his dead cap number drops from $6.5 million to $3.2 million. The Packers will have Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis at wideout this year. The bottom three guys are very green and if another injury stung the Packers this season, it could be devastating.
But then there could also be a twist in the equation. Richard Sherman wants out of Seattle. Sherman is cantankerous at times but he remains one of the best cover corners in the league. A Cobb for Sherman trade would work pretty well on a team that needs more veteran depth in the secondary and the Seahawks were 18th in the NFL last year in passing touchdowns with Doug Baldwin as their No. 1 wideout.
No matter what general manager Ted Thompson does, Cobb is going to be tricky. If Cobb has a solid 2017 campaign do the Packers forget about dropping him and keep him for 2018 no questions asked? Or do the Packers leverage that success by trying to acquire more talent?
With Ty Montgomery’s emergence as the team’s running back, Cobb’s versatility has taken a hit. His opportunities as a kick and punt returner will soon fade and since Cobb isn’t likely to be manning the Wildcat, he will ultimately hang his hat exclusively on his receiving skills.
Cobb has been a solid Packer but unless he reworks his contract before 2018, the chances of him becoming a cap casualty are pretty high.
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