“We’re working on several different levels with several different people,” Thompson told during a session with local reporters at the Scouting Combine on Thursday. “We say the same thing every year (and) we mean it: It’s not a secret that we try to keep and maintain our own guys as much as possible. We feel like that’s a good investment for the organization. We feel like, especially, if we have good people like we do, we’d like to do that. We’re trying to do that with Randall.”
Cobb is coming off a brilliant fourth season in which he caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, figures that tied for ninth, 11th and tied for fourth in the NFL.
Cobb’s value is enormous to the team, especially in light of losing Greg Jennings and James Jones the previous two offseasons. With a depleted corps of proven targets, quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaned on Cobb and Jordy Nelson heavily in the passing game. They became the first duo in NFL history to each have 90 receptions for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. They accounted for 54.2 percent of the team’s completions, 63.1 percent of the passing yards and 65.8 percent of the passing touchdowns.
Moreover, the Packers don't have anyone close to Cobb's ability in the slot.
“Randall is Randall. He’s the same guy all the time,” Thompson said. “He missed some time in the year before with an injury, but he’s been a pretty good player since the day he showed up.”
The deadline to use the salary-cap tag is March 2; free agency begins on March 10. As those dates approach, Thompson will be keeping the salary cap in mind. The 2015 cap has not been established. At a projected $140 million, OverTheCap.com has the Packers at about $23.7 million. That number would swell to about $31 million if the team were to release linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. That would seem to be plenty of financial firepower to strike a deal. Thompson spoke only vaguely about the cap ramifications.
“You just never know. You can’t really look at the whole pile,” Thompson said. “You take everything that you’ve got to do, every single task. You separate it, you put it in a little section, and you go at it. That’s the way we do it, and we add it up at the end. You can’t get involved in looking at all the stuff we have to do, or the big picture. You have to go at it with small picture, ‘We’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do this.’ That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Another dynamic would be Cobb’s contract in comparison to Nelson’s. In July, Nelson signed a deal through 2018 that was worth $39.04 million and included an $11.5 million signing bonus. Cobb reportedly is asking for $9 million per year, which would slot him below Nelson’s average of $9.76 million.
“There’s a lot of dynamics to contract negotiations and signing players and that sort of thing,” Nelson said. “I’ve never proposed that I’m an expert on that. There are people that are there and we look at things like that. But the fact of the matter is both of those guys are good football players and we’d like to have them on our team.”
SCOUT.COM DRAFT RANKINGS
Position: QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C DT DE OLB MLB S CB K P LS
email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.