Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is already committed to Green Bay through 2019.
Is wide receiver Randall Cobb next on the list?
Cobb is going into the last year of his rookie contract and the second-round pick in 2010 out of Kentucky has exceeded expectations, breaking out in 2012 with 80 receptions for 954 yards and eight touchdowns before missing 10 games last year with a broken leg.
Despite so much missed time, Cobb averaged 5.2 catches and 72.2 yards per game in the six games he did play, catching 31 balls for 433 yards and four scores.
ESPN.com (subscription required) ranked Cobb as the fifth-best free agent receiver available in a loaded 2015 class at the position.
Nelson was fourth on that list, so presumably Cobb moves up a notch with Nelson coming off the board.
Of the 10 players named to the list last month, two of them (Nelson and Atlanta Falcons wideout Roddy White) have since signed extensions. The eight who remain include:
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
- Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
- Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
- Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
- Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
- Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
- Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts
The Packers had almost $13.7 million in cap space this season, but that was before the Nelson signing, which included an $11 million bonus, so it won’t be known for a bit how much is left.
Coach Mike McCarthy would love to keep Cobb in Green Bay.
“Every coach wants his core guys, no doubt about it,” McCarthy said. “You want to sign them all. Like I said before, if I was in charge of the player checkbook, we would have been way over the budget a long time ago. Yes, Randall’s an excellent football player and you always want to see your guys get paid and you continue to grow with them.”
It’s a transitional year at wide receiver in Green Bay. Nelson and Cobb are the lone veterans in the group of receivers that includes third-year man Jarrett Boykin (49 catches in 2013).
After that, it’s all young, unproven players.
Myles White was an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech last year. He was promoted to the active roster in October and had nine catches in seven games before landing on injured reserve in December with a knee injury.
Kevin Dorsey was a seventh-round pick out of Maryland in 2013. He missed all of last season with a hamstring injury.
Chris Harper was signed off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers last October and played four games on special teams. He was a fourth-round pick in 2013 out of Kansas State by the Seattle Seahawks, who waived him in last year’s final cuts and signed him to the practice squad. San Francisco signed him in September and cut him in October without him every appearing in a game.
There is also Alex Gillett, the former Eastern Michigan quarterback who was signed to the practice squad in November after being one of the final cuts coming out of training camp last season.
And then there are the rookies: second-round pick Davante Adams out of Fresno State, fifth-rounder Jared Abbrederis of Wisconsin and seventh-round selection Jeff Janis from Division II Saginaw Valley State.