Randall Cobb

NFC Notes: Gurley, Panthers, Cowboys, Giants

Much has been made about Todd Gurley and his knee, which caused him issues in the 2018 postseason. The Rams didn’t do much to quiet those rumors when they tabbed Memphis running back Darrell Henderson with the No. 70 pick in the draft.

The team, however, is adamant the pick of Henderson has nothing to do with Gurley’s status, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. Though the team did mention monitoring the perennial Pro Bowl back’s workload.

“Like we have said all along, we anticipate Todd being a huge part of this like he has been the last couple of years,” head coach Sean McVay said. “As far as managing the workload, those are things that we talk about with Todd and as you continue to get educated on, is that something that we should do for the long haul or something that is or isn’t going to affect Todd most importantly and how does that affect our team? But we added a really good playmaker was a big thing.”

Henderson was one of college football’s stars in 2018, rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017.

It will be interesting how the Rams handle their backfield in 2019. In addition to Gurley and Henderson, the team also matched an offer for running back Malcolm Brown.

Heres’ more from around the NFC:

  • Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has hired Drew Rosenhaus to represent him, per Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (via Twitter). Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey will team up in repping the Maryland product, who posted 788 yards on 55 receptions in 2018.
  • The Cowboys are expected to be extremely cautious with cornerback Byron Jones, who underwent offseason hip surgery, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota tweets. Machota mentioned Jones, a breakout star in his first season as a cornerback, will be “highly managed,” but they do expect him to be ready for the start of the season.
  • Sticking in Dallas, new slot receiver Randall Cobb said he signed with the team because he wanted to play on a contender, Machota writes“Once I talked to everybody I knew this was the place,” Cobb said. “I definitely believe in this team. I felt like I wanted to be on a team that was a contender and I definitely believe that we have the ability, it’s just putting the pieces together.” Cobb replaces Cole Beasley in the slot, after the latter left for Buffalo early in the 2019 offseason.
  • The Giants will bring back veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets. Though the team drafted three cornerbacks, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman left no doubt Jenkins would be back, saying, “Janoris has a bunch of puppies he has to train.”

Cowboys To Sign Randall Cobb

A high-end auxiliary wide receiver will be coming to Dallas. The Cowboys agreed to terms Tuesday with Randall Cobb, Jay Glazer of The Athletic tweets. Cobb will sign a one-year, $5MM deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Cobb visited the Cowboys on Monday and will join the Amari Cooper-fronted receiving corps. This will provide Dak Prescott with a proven complementary target. This move figures to be about replacing slot receiver Cole Beasley, who defected to Buffalo despite considering a return to Dallas. It also gives the Cowboys a more complete receiving corps.

Cobb will join a pass-catching corps that includes 2018 third- and sixth-round picks Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson, along with 2017 seventh-rounder Noah Brown and the recently unretired Jason Witten. Allen Hurns is also set to be back in the mix, despite a season-ending injury and minimal production during his first Cowboys campaign. Tavon Austin is in line to return, too, making for an interesting mix of talent vying to form Cooper’s sidekick crew.

His 2018 season shortened by injury, Cobb surpassed 600 yards each year from 2014-17. While he did not quite live up to the four-year, $40MM deal he signed with the Packers in 2015, Green Bay kept him around throughout that contract. And despite being set for his ninth NFL season, the former second-round pick is only 28.

For his career, Cobb has caught 41 touchdown passes and has accumulated more than 5,500 receiving yards. Beasley, 29, has just two 600-plus-yard seasons — including one last year. Cobb has five, and given Cooper’s status and the Cowboys’ reliance on Ezekiel Elliott, the longtime Packers cog will not be expected to produce as much as he was under the terms of his previous pact.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Meet With Randall Cobb

On Monday, the Cowboys will host free agent wide receiver Randall Cobb, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Cobb, a longtime fixture of the Packers’ offense, profiles as one of the best veteran free agents remaining on the market. 

The Cowboys’ need for help at wide receiver was glaring for the first half of the 2018 season, though they took a huge step towards filling that void with their midseason acquisition of Amari Cooper. More reinforcements are needed, especially with additional attention being paid to Cooper, so the Cowboys are exploring quality WR2 options such as Cobb.

Cobb has been a major producer in the Packers’ offense for a long time, but he is coming off of three straight down years. In 2016, he missed three games and finished out with 60 catches, 610 yards, and four touchdowns. In 2017, he put up a 66/653/4 line while missing only one game, though many of those contests were played without the services of Aaron Rodgers. Then, last year, injuries limited him to nine games and a 38/383/2 line.

His performances over the last three seasons are a world away from his career-high 1,287 receiving yards in 2014, or even his 800+ yard showing in 2015. Still, he won’t turn 29 until August and he could be a strong value addition for Dallas. If the Cowboys were to put Cobb and a healthy Allen Hurns alongside Cooper, they could have a potent group at WR. The return of tight end Jason Witten should also help with the Cowboys’ aerial attack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Inquired On Packers’ Randall Cobb

There’s reason to believe the Patriots could target a quality wide receiver via trade. At some point last year, the Patriots inquired on Packers pass catcher Randall Cobb, according to Jay Glazer of The Athletic

The Packers started receiving Cobb inquiries late last offseason, but wound up hanging on to the veteran. In the spring of 2018, Cobb’s roster spot was in jeopardy, but the club opted to cut fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson instead, saving them $10.2MM against the cap. Cobb’s contract, and his $12.72MM cap hit, remained on the books for 2018. This year, Cobb is a free agent after an injury-plagued season resulted in just 38 catches for 383 yards and two touchdowns.

The Patriots, in theory, could revisit the idea of adding Cobb on a low-cost one-year deal. News of their past Cobb interest may also indicate their willingness to part with some draft capital and open up the checkbook for an impact wide receiver.

Last summer, the Patriots decided against pursuing Odell Beckham Jr. as a replacement for Brandin Cooks, but one has to wonder whether they’d consider such a move now that OBJ is – somehow – involved in trade rumors after signing a mammoth extension. Other top flight WRs could be on the Pats’ radar, especially since this year’s rookie wide receiver class is a bit underwhelming.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Packers, Falcons, 49ers, Lions

The Packers could potentially be without two starting receivers when they face the Lions on Sunday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Randall Cobb is dealing with a hamstring injury and worked out with a rehab group during practice today, while Geronimo Allison is in the concussion protocol. If neither pass-catcher can go, Green Bay will be forced to turn to a pair of rookie receivers, Marques Valdez-Scantling and J’Mon Moore. Valdez-Scantling took over slot duties last week while Cobb was out, so he’d probably play there in three-wide sets against Detroit. For what it’s worth, No. 1 Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was listed as limited with a calf injury on Wednesday, but he’s expected to be ready for Sunday’s divisional matchup.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Week 5 presents a good news/bad news situation for the Falcons, as running back Devonta Freeman is expected to return from a multi-game absence while defensive tackle Grady Jarrett will miss Sunday’s game against the Steelers with an ankle injury, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The 1-3 Falcons have scored plenty of points with Tevin Coleman filling in for Freeman, but the latter’s return will nonetheless add another dimension to an already potent offense. Jarrett, for his part, is one of the best players left on an Atlanta defense that has already lost safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal, plus linebacker Deion Jones, for the year. The Falcons rank as a bottom-six defense in yards allowed, scoring, and Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
  • 49ers rookie wideout Dante Pettis has already been ruled out for San Francisco’s Week 5 contest against the Cardinals, reports Matt Barrows of The Athletic (Twitter link). Pettis, the 44th overall selection in this year’s draft, injured his knee on a punt return in Week 4. The Washington product produced nearly 100 receiving yards over the first two games of the season, but hasn’t caught a pass since. Fellow receiver Marquise Goodwin, who’s been hampered by a hamstring ailment all season, didn’t practice today and could also conceivably miss Sunday’s action, meaning Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor, among others, could be in for more looks.
  • Even after fracturing his hand in Week 4, Lions safety Quandre Diggs practiced on Wednesday and should be available for Sunday, as Justin Rogers of the Detroit News writes. Diggs, who inked a three-year, $18.6MM extension last month, has played the second-most snaps of any Detroit defender this season. If Diggs unexpectedly can’t play against the Packers, Tavon Wilson would take over at strong safety.

Packers Receiving Trade Interest In Cobb

The Packers have received trade interest in wide receiver Randall Cobb, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, the Packers are not shopping him and expect him to be a contributor for them this season. 

At one point this offseason, Cobb’s spot on the team was in jeopardy. However, the Packers opted to cut fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson instead, saving them $10.2MM against the cap. Cobb’s contract, and his $12.72MM cap hit, remain on the books.

Cobb has been a major producer in the Packers’ offense for a long time, but he is coming off of two straight down years. In 2016, he missed three games and finished out with 60 catches, 610 yards, and four touchdowns. Last year, he put up a 66/653/4 line while missing only one game, though many of those contests were played without the services of Aaron Rodgers. His performances over the last two seasons are a world away from his career-high 1,287 receiving yards in 2014, or even his 800+ yard showing in 2015.

This year, Cobb figures to serve as the Packers’ WR2 behind Davante Adams and ahead of Geronimo Allison.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cards, Jags, Packers, Raiders

The baseline extension for Cardinals running back David Johnson should be three years, $30.85MM, reasons Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). That figure represents the combined value of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson‘s contracts with the Browns, and Arizona would surely rather have Johnson on its roster than the Cleveland duo. Johnson, 26, managed more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage in 2017 before missing nearly the entire 2018 campaign, and he didn’t attend the Cardinals’ mandatory minicamp in something of a holdout, but Arizona is reportedly progressing on a deal with its best offensive player. For what it’s worth, a $10.28MM annual salary would make Johnson the league’s highest-paid running back on a multi-year deal, and place him only behind the franchise-tagged Le’Veon Bell in per annum salary. As Corry notes, both Johnson and Rams runner Todd Gurley are presumably hoping Bell signs a record-breaking extension in the near future, resetting the running back market just in time for each to receive new deals.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Like Johnson, Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. is entering the final season of his rookie deal after Jacksonville opted not to exercise his 2019 fifth-year option, but the former third overall pick could be facing a health concern as the year gets underway, writes Hays Carlyon of 1010XL 92.5 FM. Fowler had been recovering from an unspecified upper body injury, and Carlyon reports Fowler has clearly lost “sizable muscle mass” over the past several weeks. That’s certainly not a positive for a player who relies on his edge-bending abilities, especially one like Fowler who faces an uncertain contractual future. Fowler, who posted eight sacks a season ago, would have earned $14.2MM had the Jaguars picked up his fifth-year option, but he’ll now head to the open market next spring barring an extension.
  • Speaking of preseason injuries, Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is currently sporting a walking boot on his right foot, tweets Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While Cobb wouldn’t reveal whether he’d undergone surgery, Cohen indicates Cobb is dealing with an ankle injury that is not expected to to force him to miss any regular season action. Although Cobb hasn’t come close to matching his outstanding 2014 season over the past few years, he did manage to top 60 receptions in both 2016 and 2017. Jordy Nelson is no longer in Green Bay, but that won’t necessarily affect Cobb’s role, as he spends most of his time in the slot.
  • Nelson is now with the Raiders, where he’ll be joined in Oakland’s wide receiver corps by trade acquisition Ryan Switzer, whom the Raiders picked up from the Cowboys in exchange for defensive lineman Jihad Ward“Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye,” head coach Jon Gruden said, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Switzer has come in here and not only been a punt returner, kick returner, he’s come in and been a force as a slot receiver. He’s really done well.” Switzer, who put up only 41 receiving yards during his rookie season in 2017, will compete for time with Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, and Seth Roberts, among others.

Rapoport On Bryant, Cobb, Nelson, Murray

It’s cutting season, and there are several big name veterans on the chopping block. Here’s the latest from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video links):

  • Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is a candidate for release, but Rapoport’s understanding is that Dallas plans to move forward with him, in part because of all of the resources they have already invested in him. It’s far from a lock that he’ll return under his current contract, however. Bryant, who will turn 30 during the upcoming season, is due a base salary of $12.5MM in 2018. The Cowboys could ask Bryant to accept a pay cut/extension that will make his contract a bit more palatable.
  • The Packers have two big-name WRs of their own who could be cap casualties. Rapoport gets the sense that either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson will be shown the door. Based on recent production, it could be Cobb who is cut loose. Cobb is slated to carry a $12.72MM cap hit in the final year of his deal, but the team can save $9.47MM with just $3.25MM in dead money if they release him.
  • Rapoport speculates that the Titans could cut running back DeMarco Murray, which makes sense given the presence of Derrick Henry. Murray is slated to count for $6.75MM against the cap this year and next, but those are completely non-guaranteed seasons. In 2017, the 30-year-old finished with 659 fewer rushing yards than he amassed in 2016, a Pro Bowl campaign. His yards-per-carry average also dipped from 4.4 to 3.6.
  • Tyrod Taylor is a release candidate for the Bills, but Rapoport rightly notes that the team is more likely to trade him given the need for quarterbacks around the league.

North Rumors: Packers, Cobb, Jordy, Browns

MRI results show that wide receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder) and defensive lineman Mike Daniels (hamstring) did not suffer major injuries in the Packers‘ loss to the Falcons on Sunday night, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Both are considered day-to-day, and should be available for Green Bay’s Week 3 game against the Bengals. There’s no official word to the severity of wideout Jordy Nelson‘s quad issue, but the Packers don’t believe the injury is serious, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Browns will likely place receiver Corey Coleman on injured reserve on Tuesday, tweets Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald. Coleman, who broke his hand for the second time in as many seasons, will likely need six-to-eight weeks to recover, so he’ll likely be one of Cleveland’s two IR/designated to return players. That would allow Coleman to return to practice in six weeks and see the field in eight. The Browns will lean on Rashard Higgins, Kasen Williams, and Kenny Britt in Coleman’s absence.
  • Second-round cornerback Kevin King will continue to see his role grow after a solid performance for the Packers on Sunday, as head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters, including Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “If anything, he’s earned the right to potentially play more,” said McCarthy. “Smooth, confident athlete. I like the progression that Kevin’s made.” King, a Washington product, saw his snap percentage leap from 12% in Week 1 to 79% in Week 2, and is now Pro Football Focus‘ No. 19 ranked corner through two weeks.
  • General manager Ted Thompson has shown a recent willingness to add external free agents as he revamps the Packers‘ roster, writes Demovsky in a full piece. Veteran such as Martellus Bennett, Ahmad Brooks, and Davon House have all joined the club this offseason as part of a detour from a Green Bay strategy that typically involves mostly homegrown players. “It’s the realization that they needed to get better,” one NFL executive said of the Packers, noting that Thompson may be more open to input from his front office subordinates.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Lions, Nelson, Cobb

The Packers seem likely to ask either — or potentially, both — Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb to take paycuts this offseason, writes Pete Doughtery of the Green Bay Press Gazette, who argues that the club needs to reverse its typically free agent-wary way of thinking and sign an explosive pass-catcher this March. If Green Bay is forced to choose between Nelson and Cobb, Nelson — despite his age — is the likelier option to be retained, says Doughtery, and the potential release of Cobb would clear enough cap space to allow the Packers to bring in an outside option.

The top two free agent wideouts figure to be the Bears’ Alshon Jeffery and the Browns’ Terrelle Pryor, but both are candidates to be hit with the franchise tag (as Jeffery already was this season). If either makes it to free agency, the Packers could certainly take a look, but they may have to settle for lesser options, such as Michael Floyd, Robert Woods, or Kamar Aiken.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • When the Lions declined defensive tackle Nick Fairley‘s fifth-year option for the 2015 season, the club’s brass defended the decision as a motivational tactic, hoping the sting of the move would incite Fairley into improvement. That strategy worked, Fairley tells Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, as the current Saints defender says Detroit’s choice not to pick up the option “hit home” and forced him to self-evaluate. Fairley, who will face the Lions on Sunday, has since signed consecutive one-year deals with Los Angeles and New Orleans.
  • While Fairley will be active and playing when Detroit faces New Orleans, Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead has been downgraded to out for Sunday’s contest, the club announced today. Whitehead hasn’t been all that effective this season, as he ranks just 79th among 85 qualified linebackers, per Pro Football Focus, but he has been available — Whitehead has played on every Lions defensive snap this season. With Whitehead sidelined, Detroit will likely utilize more nickel packages, as well as three-safety looks, tweets Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.
  • The Packers announced that offensive lineman T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter are both out for the club’s Week 13 against the Texans. Lang has been sidelined since Week 10, while Tretter was injured in and hasn’t played since Week 9. Jason Spriggs will start at left guard for Lang, while Corey Linsley will continue to fill in at center for Tretter.