The standoff between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers is abated, for now. Rodgers reported to Lambeau Field on Tuesday for the start of training camp. He and the team are working on a solution that keeps the MVP in Green Bay for at least one more season. Details aren’t yet final, but the quarterback seems appeased, for now. Perhaps due to a return from his old friend Randall Cobb?
What seemed a bit is now approaching reality, and Aaron Rodgers may indeed reunite with one of his favorite receivers/friends. Many believe one of Rodgers’ greatest frustrations with Packer brass is the departure of many of his favorite teammates without his knowledge. If a Cobb return is indeed imminent, this may be a sign of Rodgers getting more control. How did we get here, and what implications would Cobb’s return have on the team?
Earlier this week, the Bears traded receiver Anthony Miller to the Houston Texans. This move likely pushed Randall Cobb down their depth chart, making him a viable cut or trade candidate. Coincidentally, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that sources close to Aaron Rodgers indicted he’d play for Green Bay in 2021.
While many other factors are at play, Aaron Rodgers wanted more control of his future and a bigger say in the team’s roster. One of his favorite former teammates appeared to be available. As of this writing, a trade hasn’t happened, but the very idea of the trade seems unlikely on its own. Instead, it seems like Packer management making moves with input from Rodgers.
Put in the most basic, faulty logical terms, the Bears making a trade may have helped the Packers patch things up with Rodgers.
Of course, there are still challenges in bringing in Cobb. Most obvious is the size of his contract. Cobb is owed $8.25m, and the Packers are strapped for cash. Cobb would have to be willing to take a major pay cut to be reunited with his quarterback, per Tom Silverstein.
While the Packers haven’t had a true slot receiver since Matt LaFleur took the helm, the Packers just drafted Amari Rodgers for that role. One of the young A. Rodgers’ best pro comparisons is Randall Cobb. In fact, Rodgers’ father, Tee Martin, coached Cobb in Kentucky. On one hand, having Cobb in the locker room as a mentor would be a tremendous boon for Rodgers. On the other hand, it means less playing time for the young receiver.
Still, it’s hard to bank on a rookie making immediate contributions. Aaron Rodgers and Cobb have a deep connection, and if Rodgers wants to win now it means playing time for Cobb. Still, neither Cobb nor Amari Rodgers are slot-only guys. Matt LaFleur could easily scheme touches for both players.
Cobb’s arrival is bad news for the bubble receivers though. With Davante Adams, MVS, Allen Lazard, and Amari Rodgers as roster locks, a Cobb arrival spells bad news for EQ St. Brown, Devin Funchess, and Malik Taylor. These receivers will have to fight much hard for a roster spot. Special teams ability will be crucial.
Ultimately, trading for Randall Cobb shows the Packers are committed to Aaron Rodgers and being in win-now mode. Cobb, who spent his first eight seasons in Green Bay, may be getting older but still had solid seasons with the Cowboys and Texans since his departure. And he possesses that hard-to-achieve psychic connection with Rodgers. The Packers even cut quarterback Jake Dolegala, who had Cobb’s old number. Coincidence?
Cobb isn’t just a favorite of his quarterback. He’s a fan favorite for his delightful personality, winning smile, and ability to destroy the Chicago Bears in big moments. He’s one of my favorite Packers of all time. Time will tell if Cobb does return to Green Bay and what his role will be, but the potential return of Randall Cobb is just the beginning of a wild 2021 season.
Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.