During the past two offseasons, the Packers have witnessed the departure of several of Aaron Rodgers‘ longtime pass-catching weapons. In 2013, Donald Driver retired and Greg Jennings signed a lucrative five-year deal to join the division-rival Vikings, and in 2014, James Jones headed west, inking a three-year pact with the Raiders. Additionally, Jermichael Finley, who is coming off spinal surgery, has reportedly not been cleared by the Packers’ team doctor, making a reunion with the free agent tight end unlikely at this point.
Two more veteran Green Bay receivers are on contracts that expire after the 2014 season, but Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb seem less likely to be playing elsewhere in 2015. The Packers reportedly have interest in locking up both players to contract extensions, ensuring that they’ll remain two of Rodgers’ top targets for years to come.
In Rob Demovsky’s latest mailbag at ESPN.com, he writes that the Packers may be inclined to reach an agreement with Nelson “sooner rather than later,” so that the team can subsequently move on to Cobb. While Demovsky doesn’t cite specific sources in his response to the latest Nelson/Cobb inquiry, he’s plugged into what the Packers’ front office is thinking, and his comments suggest that Nelson may be the club’s first priority.
Nelson established himself as the Packers’ No. 1 receiver in 2013, setting new career highs in receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,314), despite Rodgers missing a chunk of the season. So it makes sense that the team would prioritize a new agreement with him. On the other hand, Cobb, who had 80 receptions of his own in 2012, looked poised to take on a bigger role in the offense last season before he was sidelined with an injury of his own. Cobb doesn’t have the sort of size you’d expect for a prototypical top receiver, but he’s five years younger than Nelson, and his versatility allows the Packers to utilize him in a number of different ways — he has averaged an impressive 15 yards per carry over the last two seasons, for instance.
What do you think? When the Packers approach their wideouts about contract extensions, which player should the team be more intent on keeping? Who’s the No. 1 priority?