Sports

Packers offseason preview: What to do with Randall Cobb?

Have we seen the last of Randall Cobb in Green Bay? (Jeff Hanisch/USA Today sports)

Our positional previews continue with the wide receivers. Here’s a look at who the Packers currently have at the position:

Davante Adams (26, sixth NFL season)

Randall Cobb (28, ninth NFL season)

Geronimo Allison (25, fourth NFL season)

Trevor Davis (25, fourth NFL season)

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (24, second NFL season)

Equanimeous St. Brown (22, second NFL season)

Jake Kumerow (26, second NFL season)

J’Mon Moore (23, second NFL season)

Allen Lazard (23, second NFL season)

Teo Redding (24, second NFL season)

Wide receiver is our first look at a position where the Packers truly have some decisions to make about where they want to go with the future. Those decisions begin with Green Bay mainstay Randall Cobb, who is entering his ninth year as a pro and will be looking for his third NFL contract as he enters unrestricted free agency. Geronimo Allison (RFA) and Jake Kumerow (ERFA) are also without contracts at the moment, but the Packers obviously have a little flexibility there as it relates to tendering one or both of them.

When it comes to Cobb’s future in Green Bay, he has no doubt earned consideration to be brought back. In Packers history, he currently ranks sixth in receptions and sits just 57 yards and two touchdowns shy of entering the top 10 in those categories. He has been at the center of some of the most memorable moments in recent memory, his relationship with Aaron Rodgers is very strong, and, at 28, he’s currently the most senior member in the wide receiver room—a proven veteran presence.

With all that said, Cobb’s arrow is probably pointing the wrong direction. In 2014, his first contract year and best season to date, Cobb caught 91 passes for 1287 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Packers rewarded him with a four-year, $40 million contract. Since that season, the numbers have dropped off:

2015: 79 receptions, 829 yards, six touchdowns

2016: 60 receptions, 610 yards, four touchdowns

2017: 66 receptions, 653 yards, four touchdowns

2018: 38 receptions, 383 yards, two touchdowns

To be fair, Cobb played in only nine games in 2018, which understandably limited his statistics. But therein lies another issue—in his eight seasons, Cobb has played in all 16 games just twice. He’s only getting older and, given the Packers’ history in such situations, it’s hard to see a long-term commitment from the team to a player who is oft-injured and getting older.

So where does that leave the wide receiver group as a whole?

Without knowing what the team will do with Allison and Kumerow, there are three stone-cold locks on the team at the moment: Adams, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown. Outside of that, it would appear there are going to be three or four active roster spots up for grabs in 2019. Trevor Davis, ever the lightning rod after three pedestrian seasons, may prove to be an asset on special teams. J’Mon Moore has a long way to go to prove he’s in the same class as fellow 2018 draftees Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown. Allen Lazard, a second-year undrafted free agent, is an intriguing prospect at 6’5” and 227 pounds but, like the others, will have to find a way to make himself stand out.

Ultimately, how the Packers approach the wide receiver position in the offseason largely hinges on what they decide to do with Cobb. If they choose to re-sign him, they may try to add some more young talent through the draft. If they let him walk, I would be mildly surprised if they don’t try to find either a youngish slot-type player or a veteran with a more attractive injury history in free agency.

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