According to Spotrac, the Green Bay Packers will have an estimated $43 million in cap space this off-season. Should Ted Thompson ask Randall Cobb to take a pay cut?
Heading into 2017 free-agency, the Green Bay Packers must focus on how they can improve their defense. With needs at nearly every position, Ted Thompson must be willing to pay up if the team is to make a Super Bowl run. But, should this affect Randall Cobb and the contract he signed in 2015?
When solely looking at the Cobb’s salary vs. 2016 production it is clear that the Packers are overpaying for the wide receiver. Spotrac ranks him as the third highest paid player on the team and seventh amongst wide receivers.
Considering he only caught 60 passes for 610 yards it could be argued that Cobb is one of the most overpaid players in the league. Receivers such as Will Fuller of the Houston Texans are being paid just over $2 million for similar production. There are even numerous players being paid far less with better statistics.
In Cobb’s defense, he spent a portion of 2016 on the bench due to injuries. This may have also contributed to some lackluster performances while on the field. Traditionally a down season due to injuries could be dismissed if the player was just 26 years old. However, Cobb is in a different situation due to his small frame and history with injuries.
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Because he is not a deep threat, Randall Cobb needs a high quantity of receptions to have a big game. This means more hits and a better chance of being injured. Combine this with the fact that a majority of his catches come over the middle in the land of linebackers and safeties; it is no mystery as to why he is always banged up.
The question then becomes, should Ted Thompson ask/demand that Randall Cobb take a pay cut? Even though it is impossible to argue that he was vastly overpaid in 2016, Thompson should hold off one more year before going down that path.
Heading into the free agency the Packers have $43 million to re-sign their own players or explore new opportunities. This gives the GM plenty of resources to find an impact player or two to shore up some defensive weaknesses.
For Cobb to agree, he would need to know that the money was being used to give the team a legitimate chance at the Super Bowl. But, if Thompson were to do so without a plan for how the money would be re-allocated, he must be prepared to cut Randall Cobb upon refusal. While this may create additional cap room, it would also give Aaron Rodgers one less weapon to work with.
With no guarantees that the defense will improve in 2017, the Packers can not afford to lose offensive playmakers, even if they are overpaid. Instead, it would be better to wait one more year and assess the talent of Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis and see if either are capable replacements. If they find either player can come close to matching Cobb’s production, then it would be wise to talk pay cut or an outright release.
With so many questions surrounding the Packers and free agency, one thing Ted Thompson should not do is to push Randall Cobb into taking a pay cut without a plan to sign a top free agent. Because he already has money to spend, Thompson should be able to acquire talent with depleting resources from the offense.