Randall Cobb played a big part in the Green Bay Packers‘ sensational comeback over the Chicago Bears in Week One on Sunday Night Football. The veteran had nine passes for 142 yards and the game-winning 75-yard touchdown pass from a hobbled and one-legged Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately, because of multiple nagging injuries, Cobb missed out on the chance to have more games like this one. He struggled to perform as his typical, explosive self in the weeks following the home opener.
The wide receiver is facing free agency yet again. This time, he isn’t likely to receive a four-year $40 million extension as he did in 2015. In his eight-year career with the Packers, Cobb has missed 23 games due to injuries. Cobb has been incredibly productive for this team over his tenure. However, struggling to remain healthy could be the beginning of the end of his time in Green Bay. While no free agency decisions will be made until next month, Randall Cobb is unlikely to return to the Green Bay Packers.
Rob Reischel, Forbes Contributor, lists Cobb as one of five high-priced veterans the team is unlikely to re-sign. He goes as far as to say that “Cobb is as good as gone.” Others on this list include Clay Matthews, Jimmy Graham, Byan Bulaga, and Nick Perry. Reischel compares Cobb’s situation to what happened to Jordy Nelson.
The Packers’ quarterback loved playing with Nelson much like he has loved playing with Cobb. Rodgers and Cobb shared an emotional embrace prior to the season finale at home against the Detroit Lions. The two likely knew that this season finale could be their last time taking the field together. During Week 17, Cobb was 1-of-5 targets for 27 yards. His lack of production was likely due in part to Rodgers’ post-first-quarter absence with a concussion.
The team’s Week 15 loss to Chicago effectively ended their season and crowned the Bears NFC North champions. Following this heartbreaking loss, Rodgers made a point to praise his close friend and teammate of eight years. He said, “When Randall is healthy, I think our offense has been different because we have a true slot guy that can make plays in the slot consistently. Having a slot guy like that guy who can legitimately get open time after time, he’s what we need.”
Many around the league perceived Rodgers’ comments as a plea to general manager Brian Gutekunst to re-sign Cobb. Maybe it was. While the team could bring him back on a lesser deal, Cobb struggles to remain healthy. So, Gutekunst is more likely to let number 18 walk to try his luck at landing another free agent or drafting and developing. This has been the Packers’ motto over the years. Traditionally, the Packers are relatively conservative when it comes to free agency. Former general manager Ted Thompson was routinely cheap, so it will certainly be interesting to see what Gutekunst does in his second off-season at the reigns.
When asked at the NFL Honors on February 2, Cobb admitted, “I have no idea. I’m just taking it day-by-day and looking forward to the future.” For the first time since playing at Kentucky, Cobb could be on the field without wearing green and gold.
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