In less than a month, the Packers organization has received a radical makeover. We have seen the hirings and firings of many members of the coaching staff and the front office. Now it is time to have the difficult discussion of the possible changing of the guard inside of the Packers locker room going into this year’s free agency.
We have discussed at nauseam that the Packers need to become a big player in free agency, but in order to fill all of the holes on their 53 man roster, some drastic moves must be talked about regarding the larger contracts of aging players. The Packers will undoubtedly have to address some of their needs through the draft as well, but for the purposes of this segment, I would like to focus solely on restructuring, keeping, and cutting certain members of the team whose salaries can hold the team back in this year’s free agency and beyond.
Randall Cobb vs. Jordy Nelson:
The hot topic of discussion in restructuring, cutting, and keeping lies at the wide receiver position as many are calling for either the restructuring or releasing of both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. In recent articles, I have said that the Packers should restructure Cobb’s contract and leave Nelson’s contract as is. My reasoning for this was two-fold, one, you can not attempt to rebuild the wide receiving core when Aaron Rodgers is within two years of free agency, and secondly, because both Cobb and Nelson do possess value in an Aaron Rodgers led offense.
However, after studying the numbers and looking at the number of positions that need to be filled both at starting positions and with the depth of the roster, I have come to the conclusion that both will have to be restructured or released.
Davante Adams cap hit is just over $10 million for the 2018 season which could allow the Packers to get creative with the salary allocations for both Cobb and Nelson. Nelson and Cobb both have 1 year left on their deals. This could be problematic for Jordy Nelson who plans to retire at seasons end, but I would make the tough decision to ask him to take a pay cut and play the last season of his contract for around $6 million dollars.
I then would approach Randall Cobb and try to give him a new contract with a team friendly cap hit for the 2018 season, say a 4-year contract worth around $32-$36 million, around $15 million dollars guaranteed and with similar parameters to Davante Adams’s contract extension.
Cobb would get say, $10 million upon signing the deal (before the March 1 roster bonus day) and have a 2018 base salary of $3-4 million dollars. The trick to this extension would be to spread out his guaranteed money over the first two years of the deal and backload the third and fourth years knowing that he will be released before he sees any of the larger salaried years of the deal. If either or neither of these players agree to these restructured contracts, The Packers will have to make a choice between the two players.
In this one or the other scenario would you choose Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb, and why?
Brian Bulaga and Clay Matthews:
The next highly contested debate is what to do with the contracts of Clay Matthews and Brian Bulaga. First, I will address Bulaga’s situation. Brian Bulaga is owed almost $8 million for the 2018 season which would be a completely fair deal if he was durable and could consistently demonstrate his value on the field.
However, that is not the case and Bulaga has missed multiple games in almost every season he has been in the league. The Packers are going to have to restructure his contract and ask him to play for around $3-4 million or simply release him and draft a tackle early in the second round and sign veteran help for that $3-4 million dollar figure.
When it comes to Clay Matthews’s situation it will come down to a simple decision of whether he is worth his approximately $11.5 million dollar salary or not?
It sounds good to say that the Packers want to keep Clay around and would try to restructure his contract but with a player like Clay and the success that he has had here in Green Bay, you either have to take him at $11.5 million or release him because you simply do not think that he is worth that salary anymore.
Packer Nation: Do you keep Clay or release him?
Finally, we are going to play the game indicated in the title of this article, Restructure, Cut, or Keep; between Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb.
Personally, I would Restructure Jordy Nelson, cut Randall Cobb and keep Clay Matthews.
What would you do Packer Nation?:
1. Who would you choose in an either-or scenario between Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb?
2. Do you keep Clay Matthews or release him?
3. How would you decide the fates of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Clay Matthews in a game of Restructure, Cut, or Keep?
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave