Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have been thorns in the side of the Chicago Bears for quite some time, but it’s possible that one of the two has played their last game in a Green Bay Packers uniform.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport examines the contract situations of three notable receivers whose future with their current teams could be in jeopardy. And while Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys are likely to work out a deal to keep things going, the same might not apply to Nelson and Cobb.
“I would be very surprised, based on what I’m hearing if they end up keeping both of them,” Rapoport said of Green Bay’s dynamic duo. “Just based on the production, it certainly would make a lot of sense if it’s Randall Cobb, in the end, who’s looking for a job.”
The emergence of Davante Adams (who signed a big-money extension to remain with the Packers) could make either Cobb or Nelson – both of whom are in the final year of their respective contracts – expendable this offseason.
The Packers currently have $16.9 million in salary cap space, which is the 10th lowest amount according to OverTheCap.com. And with so many needs throughout the roster, Green Bay is in a position where it must shed salary cap space in order to make competitive offers to worthwhile free agents. Part of their potential roster purge could include Nelson or Cobb. Dropping Nelson would save Green Bay $10.2 million, while cutting Cobb would clear up $9.5 million in cap space.
If Cobb hits the market, as Rapoport suggests, the Bears could be among the teams who might be interested. He isn’t an explosive downfield threat, but Cobb is a respected slot receiver and excellent route runner with reliable hands. Cobb isn’t a burner or a go-up-and-get-it guy, but his presence in the receivers room would provide an upgrade from what was on the roster in 2017. So while he is now three full seasons removed from his Pro Bowl 2014 campaign in which he caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards, and 12 touchdowns, Cobb won’t turn 28 until August. Perhaps a bounce-back is in order along with a change of scenery.
Retirement is a possibility if the Packers part ways with Nelson this offseason. Even though Nelson said he wanted to play out the final year of his contract, it was only a year ago when the idea of retirement was kinda-sorta thrown around. Nelson turns 33 in May and is coming off one of his least productive seasons as a professional.
A disappointing 2017 season that ended with the team missing the postseason for the first time since 2008 has already led to changes in the front office and on Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff. It’s safe to say the changes won’t end there and that a changing of the guard at the receiver position could be on the horizon.