Randall Cobb re-signed with the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. The deal is widely reported to be for 4 years and $40 million. Cobb had reportedly garnered interest from Jacksonville, Houston, Oakland and San Diego. Oakland and Jacksonville were using their considerable cap space and need to spend money to lure Cobb with a higher offer than the Packers could match and the Chargers and Texans offered playoff-ready rosters to join with waker climates.
There are articles that explain why state income taxes may or may not have had to do with Cobb’s decision to return to Green Bay, but this is not going to be one of them, because at the end of the day I just don’t believe that was much of a factor. At the end of the day, and believe me it was the end of the day, Cobb chose to stay with the TEAM. He certainly could have taken the path of Greg Jennings and taken better money to catch fewer balls and lose more games (12 wins, 1,546 yards in 2 seasons since signing with MIN) but he didn’t. He could have chosen to build his “brand” in a bigger market, but he didn’t.
He chose to stay with the team that drafted him. He chose to stay with the best QB in football, 2 time MVP Aaron Rodgers. The two combined for the best QB to WR rating in the league last year. 134.3. Which is, you know, insane. He chose to stay with a team that has one of the best 2 or 3 shots to get to Super Bowl 50. He chose to stay with the TEAM.
I assessed Cobb’s value on Friday. I surmised that he would get the inflated equivalent of Victor Cruz’s deal when he re-signed with New York. I believe Cobb to be a more versatile and valuable weapon than Cruz but that inflated salary according to my math was $10.03 million. Cobb signed for a flat 10. Regardless of what you think about his value the bottom line is that Oakland and Jacksonville were offering more. Oakland at least $12 million per and Jacksonville possibly more.
While I personally view Cobb’s contract as market value there are certainly people that do not. There are those who would call him “just a slot receiver”. The concern over Cobb’s contract is over more than the fact that Green Bay wanted him back between $8 and 9 million. Honestly with how the salary cap is constantly rising I have no concern about the number and the extra 1 to 1.5 million they had to pay Cobb to keep him is more than likely inconsequential. The “overpay” is fine in that it keeps Cobb on the Packers and keeps the QB armed and happy.
The concern over Cobb’s contract is that it is for $1 million more than Jordy Nelson received just a season ago. Nelson is unquestionably the team’s #1 wide receiver and one of the best 5 players at his position in the league. It’s odd to pay your “#2” WR more than your “#1” WR, especially when it’s an elite player. There are definitely #1 receivers that this would be a problem for. There are definitely locker rooms where this would be an issue. Not in Green Bay.
Nelson has publicly stated that he doesn’t need to be the highest paid WR on the Packers. I believe him. It’s that kind of selflessness and commitment to winning that makes it so easy to cover and cheer for the Packers. Jordy Nelson is a $15 million wide receiver on the open market. Randall Cobb is probably a $12.5 million wide receiver on the open market. The Packers pay them a combined annual salary of less than $20 million because they want to keep playing with each other, with Aaron Rodgers, and most importantly they want to win. With Cobb back in the fold that becomes a lot easier.