Panic about about Randall Cobb leaving Green Bay has taken over the Internet the past week with Packers fans freaking out about losing one of the best players on the team.

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported today that the Packers “balked” at paying Cobb $10 million per year and he will be testing the open market. It seems strange to me that the Packers would offer Cobb a deal between $8 and $9 million per year according to Bob McGinn, but would “balk” at $10 million. Maybe, they’re really serious about not wanting to pay Cobb more than Jordy Nelson, which is just silly. Nelson took below market value, Cobb is much younger and he had just as productive a season as Nelson — so paying him more is not outrageous.

Ross has a fantastic piece coming here tomorrow about Cobb’s value and why the Packers need to re-sign him — which I agree with one-million percent — so I will not get into those reasons right now. I will take the angle about what would the Packers look like without Cobb next season.

The Packers still have a lot of things going for them if Cobb leaves. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers’ presence gives you a chance to beat anybody on any single day. Green Bay would still have an elite running game with Eddie Lacy behind what would be at least a top five offensive line in the NFL — assuming Bryan Bulaga gets re-signed.

Defensively, the Packers have an up and coming unit with some very good pass rushers and a deep secondary if one of Davon House or Tramon Willimas gets re-signed. The safety duo of Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix compliment each other very well, while the play at inside linebacker should improve by default.

So, even without Cobb, the Packers still have more talent to work with than most teams, and this is even before the NFL Draft and free agency. However, the expectations in Green Bay these days with Rodgers at the helm are Super Bowl or bust, especially with the lust of the 2010 championship going away with each passing moment.

Can the Packers win the Super Bowl next year with the current crew of wide receivers and tight ends with maybe one high draft pick thrown in? They could, but I certainly wouldn’t put it as a very good chance. I’m as big a Davante Adams fan as anybody and think he can be a future star, but I don’t know if 2015 is the year for that.

Thompson has been a wizard drafting receivers, but taking the chance that Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis are ready to contribute in major roles is a huge gamble. Abbrederis could be injury prone, and Janis has to prove he can be trusted when it counts in games. The Packers may have been able to replace James Jones and Greg Jennings in the past, but guess who had a huge role in that? Remember that SI cover with all the wide receivers, Rodgers and Finley? When you have enough weapons to fill a magazine cover you can afford to let some walk away, but that’s simply not the case right now.

If the Packers had a game breaking tight end than this wide receiver corps minus Cobb would be much easier to deal with. Richard Rodgers is a nice prospect, but I don’t see him ever being anything more than a nice possession type tight end and not someone who can stretch the field vertically.

If Thompson was going to use the cap space he had saved on Cobb for a veteran wide receiver like Torrey Smith, Michael Crabtree or Andre Johnson or a tight end like Julius Thomas or Jordan Cameron than losing him would also be easier to take. Smith is particularly intriguing because for all the great wide receivers Green Bay has had they’ve never had a true speed burner like him. All those players would come cheaper than Cobb, but I highly doubt Thompson would pay what’s necessary to sign any of them, so don’t hold your breath.

Thompson has overpaid his own guys in the past to keep them like Brad Jones, A.J. Hawk, Morgan Burnett and Mike Neal, so it’s hard to understand why he would draw a line in the sand with a player of Cobb’s caliber with so much money under the cap. It’s hard to preach draft and develop only to let one of your most important players walk.

Last year, the media had Sam Shields all but gone before he re-signed at the last minute before free agency, so all hope should not be lost just yet. If Cobb did walk the Packers would not be out of contention for a Super Bowl next season, but Thompson would have a hell of a lot more work to do.


Matt Bove is a writer at You can follow him on twitter at @RayRobert9.