The Green Bay Packers have a lot of questions to answer on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, but they also have some tough decisions to make on offense too.
One of the more difficult ones, might be what to do with wide receiver Randall Cobb?
Two years ago, the Packers re-signed Cobb with a four-year $40 million deal. And while he hasn’t been terrible the past two seasons, he has far from lived up to the deal. In 2015, Cobb was targeted 129 times in 16 games and produced just 829 yards. He also scored six touchdowns. The problem is he averaged just 6.4 yards per target, a paltry number for a supposedly elite receiver.
The season before, in 2014, Cobb turned 126 targets in 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2012, he was targeted 104 times for 954 yards. This past year, while he was better, he was targeted 84 times and finished with 610 yards and four touchdowns.
That equaled 7.2 yards per target. In terms of yards per reception, during his first four seasons, he averaged at least 14.0 in all of them. In 2015, he averaged 10.5 and last season, it dipped to 10.2.
At this point, it’s pretty clear Cobb, while effective in the slot, isn’t a No. 1 wide receiver. He struggled mightily without Jordy Nelson in the lineup. He battled injuries in 2016 and despite looking good in the playoffs, still didn’t produce at a $10 million level.
That’s why, it may be time to approach the sixth-year man out of Kentucky about a pay cut.
Certainly, the Packers don’t need the money. They have close to $50 million in cap space. But that doesn’t mean they should overpay for a player that doesn’t deserve it. Cobb may rebound, but he may not.
Even without him, Green Bay would have Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison. Hopefully, Jared Cook will be back in the fold as well. In an ideal world, Cobb would be too. But right now, paying $10 million for an above average slot receiver, seems like a luxury.
And with players like Cook, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Micah Hyde, T.J. Lang, JC Tretter and others set to hit the free-agent market, the Packers need to make sure they spend their money wisely.
And furthermore, with Adams set to become a free agent after the 2017 season, the Packers need to start thinking about the future.
Cobb should be back in Green Bay next season, he has a chance to make a greater impact with the Packers than anywhere else; He can also play with an MVP quarterback and on a Super-Bowl caliber team. But he shouldn’t be back at $10 million.
With a secondary, a pass rush, a linebacking core and a offensive line that all need reinforcements, the Packers must stop overvaluing their own talent and that should start with Cobb.
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