With new GM Brian Gutekunst now in charge of the roster, he now has to make the difficult decision of what to do at the wide receiver position with former GM Ted Thompson resigning Davante Adams to a $58 million deal. Which means there is a chance, probably a good one, that one of the two veteran receives, Nelson or Cobb, won’t be with the team for the 2018 season.
All we have been hearing since Adams signed his deal and the end of the season is, Nelson or Cobb? The Packers have to choose one. But why? Can’t they keep all three for one more year?
I remember Ron Wolf once said that he wished he put more weapons around Brett Favre. Well, Ted did that. He gave Aaron Rodgers a deep receiving core through the years. During the Super Bowl season of 2010, they had Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, plus Jermichael Finley at tight end. Looking at their offensive weapons now, they currently don’t have those types of weapons. After Nelson, Cobb, and Adams, who else is a receiving threat?
As the Packers and us fans have learned with Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward, it is not always best to part ways with talent. It is a different story if you have plan; I don’t think they have a plan at that position yet. Plus, include injuries as the team has needed other receivers to step up in recent years.
I would like to see the team do some restructuring of contracts to keep all 3, draft another receiver at some point and move Ty Montgomery back to wide receiver. Granted, they do boast the NFL’s slowest receiving corps, I would prefer Gutekunst to concentrate on adding more talent to the defense. It is being reported that the NFL cap will increase to $178 million, and currently, the 3 receivers count 20 percent toward the cap. A restructuring is definitely in order to keep Rodgers weapons with him.
Jordy will turn 33 years old this spring and is coming off his worst statistical season of his career since he became a starter. Yes, he has lost some speed, and ability to get open on a regular basis as a perimeter receiver. But Aaron Rodgers throws guys open, and those two are so in sync with each other that Nelson regularly finds himself in the right place when the play breaks down.
Randall Cobb is younger and will turn 28 at the start of training camp, and even though he has underperformed the last couple of years. Granted, he hasn’t provided the Packers with the return on investment that they were hoping when he signed his deal after 2014. With Joe Philbin returning as offensive coordinator, there is a reason for optimism that he and the offensive can return to their old ways.
Granted losing Rodgers last year hurt everyone’s numbers as they all underperformed and saw a decrease in at least one category or another. Let’s take a look at the numbers:
2017 – Davante Adams – 74 receptions; 885 yards; 10 TDs
2016 – Davante Adams – 75 receptions; 997 yards; 12 TDs
2017 – Randall Cobb – 66 receptions; 653 yards; 4 TDs
2016 – Randall Cobb – 60 receptions; 610 yards; 4 TDs
2017 – Jordy Nelson – 53 receptions; 482 yards; 6 TDs
2016 – Jordy Nelson – 97 reception; 1,257 yards; 14 TDs
Cobb’s numbers were pretty consistent and even increased his reception total and yards from the previous year. Davante was pretty even but his yards were down slightly. Jordy is where we saw a real change in production. Before Rodgers was hurt he was leading the receiving group in TDs. Yes, I agree he has lost as a step and isn’t the Jordy of 2016 and we don’t know what his numbers would have been if Rodgers was healthy all year. Adams was the only receiver to have a 100-yard game, and he has taken over as the WR1.
Granted the numbers were not good, but behind them, there is no one else. That is another reason, I would restructure both contracts for the upcoming season. That way you can draft a perimeter wide receiver threat and have him learn behind Nelson for the year. Transition Montgomery back to wide receiver and have him learn the slot position from Cobb. With a new found running game, Joe Philbin returning, I think we could see a more dynamic offense next year that includes all three receivers.
The way I see it is, 2018 is a make or break year for McCarthy. Improve the defense and the chips are pushed all in for a Super Bowl run. McCarthy has to tailor his offense to maximize the talent that he has, and I feel with Joe Philbin back as his offensive coordinator that will happen. McCarthy is coaching for his job in Green Bay in 2018, so we hopefully will see him be more aggressive and improved seasons for all 3 receivers. The new GM Gutenkunst will make the decision, I just hope it’s to keep the talent around for one more year.