Cory's Corner: Randall Cobb could be a cap casualty

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. 

-------------------

Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (34)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Bearmeat's picture

April 08, 2017 at 06:59 am

Corey,

That is straight up crazy. Richard Sherman is NOT coming to GB. He needs a speedy safety behind him to cover his backside. HHCD is good, but he's not as good as Earl Thomas. Plus, the dude is a walking mouth.

Cobb may get cut, but it won't be this year.

0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:31 am

What would be great is to KEEP Cobb and have him agree to restructure his contract. Cobb saw first hand with jennings what happens when you're not catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. If Cobb is given the opportunity to restructure, he should say yes please and do it. The Packers ARE a better team with Cobb on it. Question is does Cobb know he's better off with Rodgers as his QB for less money.

0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

April 08, 2017 at 09:39 am

Yeah. But I'm not sure the value to a 2nd slot WR (Nelson will be slot #1 very soon if he's not already) is worth it under the cap.

What we really need is another HWS prospect outside to hedge the bet on Davis. Adams is HW. But not S.

0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:45 am

Chris Godwin or Zay Jones. Both ran sub 4.5 40's are over 6 feet tall and weigh more than 200 pounds.

Cobb is worth maybe half of what he's making and you're right about Jordy in the slot. Something else to consider is the number of 2 TE sets the Packers will use with Kendricks and Bennett. Cook lined up in the slot on 57% of his snaps last season so it's going to get crowded. McCarthy has already talked about the possibilities with 2 TE's on the field. He loves those "Big Guys" running down the middle of he field.

0 points
0
0
TheVOR's picture

April 08, 2017 at 08:27 am

Well, first off Cobb isn't making "huge" money. 8.6M-ish a year isn't huge money for a productive WR, even a 2 receiver. I realize his cap number is 12.6, but his dead cap is 6.5, it's not like you cut him. Bonus money makes up a huge portion of his cap number, and his base salary is 8.6M. Look at the money that Denver has tied up in Damarious Thomas and Sanders, and then tell me GB is paying to much for their 1 & 2 receivers.

All I can say about Cobb is the same thing I said about Cobb when he was a UFA - "I can't imagine what the offense would like like without him".

Looking for cap space, you have to look at CM3 before you start talking about Cobb. The renegotiation has to be with Clay Mathews. Talk about a guy who hasn't played up to his contract?

0 points
0
0
GB Jacker's picture

April 08, 2017 at 08:38 am

Finding people who can do damage in the seams is much easier than finding edge rushers. I also think CM3 has become a problem for GB, though both Cobb and he deserved their extensions.

(If in 2-3 years Nick Perry hasn't done much we will all bemoaning that deal but you have to keep players and hope they retain their levels and stay healthy.)

I really like Cobb as a player, but I do think he's more expendable than others, including CM3, especially since Nelson is probably going to move to the slot as he ages. Until we have better options on the edge it's worth sticking with Clay to see if he can stay healthy and get his juice back.

Edit: If you cut clay or move him on, what do you do at OLB?

0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

April 08, 2017 at 09:38 am

"Get his juice back." I see what you did there.... lol

And there is no replacement for Clay at OLB. Which is one verrry large part of why our defense sucked last year. When Clay sucks or is hurt, our D sucks. So... since 2014... always?

0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

April 08, 2017 at 02:23 pm

Get his juice back? Hope it's the legal variety.

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 09, 2017 at 07:03 am

Cobb was paid like the best slot WR in the NFL. He is making big money for a slot receiver. TheVOR, you should not compare salaries of top boundary receivers with slot receivers. Cobb's base salary is indeed $8.6M, but he is certain to earn his $400K workout bonus, and likely to earn most of his $500K per game bonus. His real salary is between $9 and $9.5M.

There is no reason to compare our receivers to Denver's, but since you did, I'd note that Sanders' base salary this season is $6.75M, and all he does is consistently produce 1,000 yard seasons despite the relatively incompetent play of his QB, what's-his-name in 2016, and in 2015 the noodle-armed Manning and the really bad Osweiller. Plus, Sanders is a deep threat, something Cobb just isn't. Sanders makes about 10% more than Cobb, but his production is 69% more than Cobb's in 2016, and almost 40% more in 2015. As for Thomas, his base salary is $8.5M (no other roster, bonus or other money coming to him) and his cap number is $12.03M for both 2017 and 2018 (it is $10.7M as a one year rental - it depends on whether his $4M option bonus for future years is exercised, and that can be decided after the 2017 season is over). If Denver lost its mind and decided to take the $6.6M cap hit (they could gain cap savings of $9.8M in 2017 if they wanted), and we decided to take the $6.5M cap hit for Cobb, we could trade for Thomas. Denver would have to lose its mind because all Thomas has done is put up 5 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, including, 4 over 1300 yards when he had a good QB. Thomas has a lower salary and a lower salary cap for both 2017 and 2018 than Cobb, and is an immensely better player.

I agree though that since Cobb really can't be traded for anything, and his $6.5M dead money hit precludes cutting him. Besides, we'd only gain a cap savings of $6.1M, and his production is likely to be worth that amount. There is no replacement on the roster at this time.

I think reasonable people can disagree on CM3. He has a dead money hit of $4.1M (which will be $4.6M in a few weeks). If TT asked him to take a cut, I'd consider Perry, Fackrell and Elliott, and call TT's bluff. He is going to earn $10.6M plus per game roster of up to $500K; if cut, how much could he earn as a FA? How good is he, and how good to other GMs think he is?

0 points
0
0
GB Jacker's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:12 am

If we're looking to shift Cobb in a trade (which I highly doubt) - I don't think Sherman should be a target at all.

I think we maybe look to move him even if he has a strong season this year, especially if Adams and Allison continue to grow. We'll no doubt draft a receiver this year and potentially could target a replacement for Nelson in this or the 2018 draft.

I cannot see Cobb on the roster next year unless he is willing to re-do his deal, even if he looks great that cap hit is huge!

0 points
0
0
Savage57's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:52 am

I tend to agree that a re-work or adios might be in his future, but this season is the linchpin

One time is an occurrence, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend. If the coincidence becomes a trend, then Ted knows what he has to do.

0 points
0
0
Ryan Graham's picture

April 08, 2017 at 03:10 pm

I agree mostly. My thing is this - even if does have a highly productive year this year if Nelson or Adams are to go down we know that's his ceiling. We know hes not a number 1 target guy for Rodgers, though he has decent hands and has to be accounted for by any defense. Adams is gonna get paid handsomely wherever he goes or if he stays (which I would most prefer I think he's gonna be highly productive as long as he's in GB) so Ted really can't afford to be plugging away nearly 40M plus for more often than not 3 spots on a starting offense that all play the same position. Also Nelson will eventually transition to slot, and Cobb is not versatile enough at the wideout position specifically to run the perimeter routes effectively.

We know what Cobb can do, it's been more often good than bad but also not great. Adams could be another story, invest in him and your defense. If he's willing to take a pay cut and possibly a lesser role in the lineup, that works too. Not likely.

0 points
0
0
stockholder's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:12 am

Cobb has still got it. No way TT does anything until he sees what Adams can build on. I still would take Cobb over Adams in any market. Expect TT to draft a WR early again.

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:14 am

I got what you wrote about Randall Cobb. What I missed is why is Richard Sherman in this article. OK, Sherman wants out of Seahawks. Are you suggesting trade with Seahawks - Cobb for Sherman type?
Can you make it clear, please. Thank you!

0 points
0
0
jasonperone's picture

April 08, 2017 at 09:44 am

Cro, Cory clearly makes the suggestion of a possible Cobb for Sherman in the piece. It's just an idea as to what the Packers could do with Cobb, who is the subject of the post

0 points
0
0
stockholder's picture

April 08, 2017 at 11:42 am

And I'd like to make the suggestion of a possible Adams for Sherman. Heck I would take a draft pick for him. If Adams gets his money like Cobb. He may resort to his poor start. Then you overpaid him with his history. Cobb's history does not suggest he's not a flash in the pan.

0 points
0
0
egbertsouse's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:20 am

Cobb is not worth 12 mil. He should be restructured or cut. No one will trade for him with his current salary.

Fabio should be next on the cut list unless he agrees to restructure.

TT can be such a tightwad with some players and just piss money away with others. I just don't get it.

0 points
0
0
GB Jacker's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:32 am

A trade is more than possible. There will teams next year with 70-80 million in cap space willing to take on a one year 12 mill hit on a veteran slot guy just to get their cap number up. Look at the money people spend. You'd be able to get him in house and look into a new deal too so it's not an impossible contract at all.

If he has a really good season this year I can see a third or even a second being a possibility if we play it right. Best case scenario is we put up huge numbers and he has 1000 yards and 8-9 TDs looking like his old self. Helps us win a championship and then moves on with a ring.

0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:24 am

I loved what Cobb did in the playoff game against the Giants or the amazing catch he made against Dallas on the sideline for a 1st down against the Cowboys, but $25.3 million over the next 2 years is a lot of money. To complicate things a little more, Cobb is going to compete for opportunities this year. With Bennett, Kendricks, Nelson, Adams, Montgomery, more 2 TE sets and possibly more Allison there's only so many passes to go around. At the end of the day it's going to be difficult for Cobb to put up numbers to justify $25.3 Million over the next 2 years.

His trade value isn't great because his contract and unimpressive numbers the last 2 years. Yes he's been dinged up, but $25.3 is nothing to sneeze at. If Cobb was to be released after 2017 then drafting a WR this year becomes a much bigger need. In a class that's weak at the WR position, the Packers would almost have to move up in the 2nd round to say grab a Chris Godwin or Zay Jones. In a year where the Packers need defense, defense, and defense, that might be out of the question for TT. Thompson has done an outstanding job keeping the WR position stocked, but he also allocated higher draft picks to the position. He took Jennings, Jones, and Nelson between 2006 & 2008. After that he waited until 2014 to use another high pick. This year might be the time or the Packers could look a little thin AND slow in 2018. Sorry but Davis just doesn't do it for me.

0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:31 am

Davis was a 5th round pick NP. You've got to give developmental guys time to, you know, develop. He wasn't good last year, but TT never expected him to contribute right away. After 2018, we'll know what we have for sure.

Look at Antonio Brown. 6th rounder. Did you hear much about him for his first 2 years? No sir.

0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

April 08, 2017 at 07:59 am

You're right about that but they need to know a lot more about Davis this season IMO. He needs to show a lot more than last season before they can count on him in 2018. Driver took 4 years to develop, Nelson 3 but that was mostly because the Packers had DD, Jennings, and Jones playing well in front of him. They didn't need him to contribute real early.
Davis was benched last season after week 10 and I'm not sure if he was active again (Not going to look it up) but he's the ONE WR with some speed other than Janis but Janis can't run the correct route.

The Packers need to make sure the position is as good or better as it's always been cuz the years keep whizzing by and Rodgers only has so many left. You just never know.

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

April 08, 2017 at 08:35 am

Trevor played OK when he got chances. he was benched as KR/PR because he fumbled punt. I remember his TD against Falcons when he come back to Aaron and catch tip toe side line ball. It was nice showing. I expect more from Trevor.

0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

April 08, 2017 at 08:53 am

Cobb has played through injuries during both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Yet, he has remained a reliable target and receiver for AR. He has not hurt the team with either drops or fumbles and he has a knack for getting open on third downs and in the end zone. He may not be worth his current salary but if we're honest very few of today's players are worth the salaries they are receiving. I also remember just a few short seasons ago when many posters here were desperate for TT to re-sign Cobb. "Pay the man" was the consistent refrain. Now we want to cut his salary. At this point, I don't see how that helps the 2017 Packers. We still have plenty of cap space without reducing Cobb's salary and nearly all of the big money FAs are already gone. Cutting or offering Cobb a salary cut may only affect his positive attitude which would be an unnecessary negative to add to the team. Let's see how 2017 plays out. If Cobb remains injury free and has a strong season cutting him or his salary becomes a more difficult decision. If he continues to be injured and/or his production declines it's an easier call. Let's get through 2017 and worry about 2018 when it gets here. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 09, 2017 at 04:34 am

I agree with the results of your analysis. I don't agree with some of the reasoning. Cobb dropped a whopping 14 passes in 2015, but just 2 in 2016. He has always been up and down in terms of drops: 2 of 34 in 2010 (5.9%), then 10 of 110 (9.1%), 0 of 46 (0%), 9 of 145 (6.2%) in 2013, 14 of 138 (10.1%), and 2 of 105 (1.9%) in 2016. For his career, his drop rate is 6.4%. I think it is irrelevant that many wanted to "pay the man" in 2014 and now want to cut his salary. My own guess is that if asked to take a pay cut, Cobb would refuse and would be correct to do so if consulting his own best self-interest, and asking probably does just foster hurt feeling to no purpose. I think Cobb might well have a solid season, there is no replacement on the roster, there is no capable FA available for the cap savings available (that could change, I suppose), and there is no more important player we just have to sign and no need to generate additional cap space to do that. Let Cobb play under his current contract.

0 points
0
0
WyoPackfan's picture

April 08, 2017 at 08:56 am

Both Cobb and CMIII are overpaid based on recent production. It's easy to say "just restructure their contracts" but the Packers don't exactly have a ton of leverage. As down as Clay has been the last couple of years you can't argue with the fact that the defense is better with him than without. Same with Cobb. He struggles to separate but when the play breaks down Arod finds him. This season is make or break for both - but they'll both be on the roster opening day.

0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

April 08, 2017 at 11:59 am

Right now, it's true: the Packers have no leverage on either player because the one-year cap hits would be something they wouldn't absorb and because they have nobody who could come close to filling their shoes right now.

After the season, though, there's no leverage either way on CMIII. He's blowing in the wind and it's really up to the Packers to decide what they want to do about his $11.4M cap number. There's no cap hit to let him go, so, in reality, the Packers are in a good spot for 2017 with CMIII because he's trying to earn 2018 THIS season. He needs to make himself look like a bargain and needs to play in such a way as to make himself indispensible to earn his 2018 money. What I've said before is that he's now essentially on a series of one-year deals. They're all prove-its. I don't think that's necessarily a bad place to be, if you're the Packers, because if he plays well enough to earn is contract, the team benefits and gets him for a terminal year on his contract. If he continues to be hurt and less impactful than his salary indicates, they can let him go and not absorb a hit.

Two edge rushers in the first four rounds of the upcoming draft. Book it.

0 points
0
0
sonomaca's picture

April 08, 2017 at 09:03 am

Hey, ho, this team was one step from the SB, largely because the offense was so good. Do you really want to start shredding it now? The defense will not be great. The offense MUST be.

0 points
0
0
Bert's picture

April 08, 2017 at 10:47 am

Yeah. Let's cut Cobb so we can all sit around and whine again next year because somebody got hurt and we had no veteran depth at WR.

0 points
0
0
tm_inter's picture

April 08, 2017 at 12:13 pm

By March 2018 Davante Adams and Jeff Janis will become free agents. Janis won't cost much to keep, but Adams will probably demand about 10M a year to stay.

TT will have a dilemma: Can the Packers afford to keep 3 WRs earning 10M each?

I don't think TT will be able to solve this dilemma before the end of the 2017 season, since he can't evaluate Jordi Nelson, Cobb, and Adams before the season is over.

Drafting a speedy WR of Zay Jones' caliber will help TT to decide more easily which veteran WR to let go next year.

0 points
0
0
BradHTX's picture

April 08, 2017 at 01:14 pm

Ted Thompson could trade Cobb for RICHARD SHERMAN?

*falls off chair laughing*

The chances of Thompson trading Cobb, who has been a very good team player, for a loud mouthed, 29-year-old CB with mediocre speed who excels in ZONE COVERAGE when the Packers play primarily man coverage must be... well... about the chances of Thompson moving on from Nick Perry and signing Connor Barwin.

0 points
0
0
jyros's picture

April 08, 2017 at 03:48 pm

Cobb has always been there in the clutch and is a dependable 'z' man. He earns his contract.

As far as Sherman is concerned... it appears the
S' hawk hype machine is in high gear to get desperately needed high draft picks after the Graham debacle.
Sherman's washed up - maybe worth a 4th round pick.

0 points
0
0
GBFaninCA's picture

April 08, 2017 at 04:21 pm

I could see him ending up on the Raiders next year.

0 points
0
0
juliasts's picture

April 09, 2017 at 12:55 am

hey pls visit http://doraemonepisodes.xyz
this my website

0 points
0
0
Kevin Ven's picture

April 09, 2017 at 10:44 pm

If we get a 3 down back this year that an handle the load, we can move Ty back to slot next year and cut/restructure combs contract.

0 points
0
0