According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers are in the process of finalizing a trade with the Houston Texans for veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb, who spent his first eight NFL seasons in Green Bay and has remained close friends with Rodgers since his departure in 2019. Rapoport added that trading for Cobb was something that Rodgers had specifically requested from the Packers upon his return to the team.
Cobb, a 2011 second-round pick for the Packers, was one of Rodgers’ favorite receiving weapons during their previous time together in Green Bay. He providing the veteran quarterback with a reliable slot weapon that has been mostly missing since Cobb left two seasons ago, hauling in a combined 470 receptions for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns over his first eight seasons
Even as he nears his 31st birthday in August, Cobb remains a serviceable weapon for NFL offense when he is able to avoid injuries and stay on the field. He averaged 15.1 yards on 55 receptions across 15 games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, the highest yards-per-reception average of his veteran career. Moving into a situation in 2021 where he has already built trust with the starting quarterback (Rodgers) should also help his overall production.
While Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst declined to discuss the trade on Wednesday morning since it has not yet been officially completed, Cobb gave about all the confirmation necessary when he tweeted out a picture of him in a Packers jersey with an unambiguous caption.
The terms of the trade are unknown at this time, as it has not yet been finalized.
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Cap Cost Remains Biggest Issue for Packers
The Packers might not have to give up more than a late-round pick to acquire Cobb from the Texans and appease their returning MVP quarterback, but it will certainly take some re-negotiation on Cobb’s part to ensure he can fit on the Packers’ books for 2021.
Currently, the Packers have about $5.04 million in cap space for the 2021 season and will need to create another $3.4 million in space to take on Cobb’s contract, which carries a cap hit of $8.47 million for the 2021 season. A new agreement with Rodgers — which had not been finalized as of Wednesday morning — could potentially free up more than $11 million in spending room, but there are more priorities for the Packers than one veteran wide receiver.
In all likelihood, the Packers will either need to persuade Cobb to renegotiate his contract or somewhere get the Texans to take on some of the money he is currently owed.
Update: According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Packers are trading a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Texans in exchange for Cobb and will have Houston take on $3 million of his contract, leaving the Packers with a total cap hit of $5.4 million for the veteran wide receiver.
Which WRs Will Make Packers’ Active Roster?
While the arrival of Cobb will make Rodgers — as well as Davante Adams — happy, there are some new questions to ask about the Packers’ receiving corps, namely which receivers will now face a tough time making the active roster with another uncuttable veteran in place.
The Packers will have essentially five solid locks in their receiving room once Cobb’s trade is complete: Adams, Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and third-round rookie Amari Rodgers. It would make sense for them to keep at least one more receiver and carry six at the position into the 2021 season, but it might not be as simple as who is the best pass-catcher.
The Packers may feel inclined to make their sixth wideout someone who adds value to their special teams unit in the return game rather than a pure receiver. That could hurt the chances for someone like Funchess, who is attempting to reignite his career after not playing since the 2019 season opener, in favor of someone with some return experience such as Malik Taylor.
Other Packers receivers competing for that sixth spot include: Equanimeous St. Brown, Juwann Winfree, DeAndre Thompkins, Bailey Gaithers, Chris Blair and Reggie Begelton.