Randall Cobb

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.

NFC North Notes: Megatron, Bears, Packers

Ron Rivera‘s path to the Panthers emerged when he and Lovie Smith ended a contentious relationship in three seasons working together in Chicago. The former Bears coach didn’t renew the former Bears defensive coordinator’s contract after the duo helped the Bears to Super Bowl XLI during the 2006 season, largely due to philosophical and personal differences, Austin Murphy of SI.com reports.

Smith preferred then-Buccaneers assistant head coach Rod Marinelli for the job upon being hired as Bears coach in 2004, but, per Murphy, Rivera was mandated by then-Chicago GM Jerry Angelo.

The former Bears player under blitz-happy Buddy Ryan, Rivera wanted a blitz-heavy scheme, whereas Smith was a Tampa-2 proponent. Murphy also asserts Rivera’s eight interviews for head-coaching positions while employed as Bears DC were potentially seen as disloyal by Smith.

When Rivera became the Chargers’ linebackers coach in 2007 after Smith denied him a fourth season running the Bears’ defense, he and Smith were on bad terms, a Bears source told Murphy. The 54-year-old Rivera served three years as San Diego’s DC before accepting Carolina’s top coaching job.

Here are some more items from the NFC North on the eve of Super Bowl 50.

  • The Bears should let Matt Forte walk while re-signing Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap notes in his analysis of the Bears’ cap situation. Also advising the Bears to orchestrate an extension with Kyle Long after they pick up the tackle’s fifth-year option, Fitzgerald recommends the Bears cut Martellus Bennett and gauge Lamarr Houston‘s trade value. Bennett would save Chicago $5.2MM, and Houston, entering his seventh season, will net the Bears $4MM in cap savings if released. Brought in to play in a 4-3 scheme, Houston graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 62-ranked edge defender as an outside linebacker in Vic Fangio‘s 3-4.
  • Calvin Johnson‘s impromptu retirement could be a negotiating ploy a la Adrian Peterson‘s trade request last year, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The Lions will need to know Johnson’s official intentions on his future by March 9, when his $16MM base salary and $24MM cap number are configured into Detroit’s 2016 salary cap. Florio speculates Johnson could have threatened to retire to force the Lions to appreciate his presence rather than insist he renegotiate that massive cap figure. Peterson ended up receiving additional guaranteed money, instead of the Vikings potentially attempting at reducing his salary, Florio offers.
  • Randall Cobb‘s punctured lung sustained against the Cardinals could have been an effect of him being mic’d up by NFL Films, the slot receiver and the Packers medical staff theorize (via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). “I punctured a lung. I didn’t break a rib and I didn’t fracture a rib. It’s really abnormal for that to happen,” Cobb told radio host Bill Michaels in San Francisco. “But I was mic’d up for the game. I landed flush on my back. The battery pack was on my shoulder pads and I landed flush on my back and we think that possibly could be it but there’s no way of proving it.” Cobb, who left the divisional playoff game after injuring himself on a spectacular catch that ended up being nullified by penalty, will enter the season season of the four-year deal he signed last March.
  • Casey Hayward hired the same agent, David Mulugheta, used by fellow Packers DBs Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Quinten Rollins, Rand Getlin of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Hayward is one of Green Bay’s top free agents.

Injury Updates: Allen, Okung, Cobb

Some big names have suffered injuries during this weekend’s NFL playoff action. Here’s the latest:

  • Panthers defensive end Jared Allen injured his foot during the team’s Sunday win over the Seahawks and and is likely to require season-ending surgery, tweets Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com conflicts Jones’ report, tweeting that Allen plans to continue playing. Allen broke a small bone in his foot, per Rapoport. The 12th-year man is scheduled to undergo an X-ray Monday, according to Jones (Twitter link), which should clarify his status.
  • Not only did the Seahawks’ season end in Carolina, but left tackle Russell Okung‘s career with the team may have concluded with an injury. The one-time Pro Bowler and pending free agent dislocated his shoulder, reports The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). The terrible timing of the injury could have a negative effect on Okung’s market this offseason, notes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link). On Saturday, PFR’s Dallas Robinson ranked Okung, 28, as the ninth-best free agent in the upcoming class.
  • Packers receiver Randall Cobb left Saturday’s loss to Arizona early with a bruised lung, but he tweeted Sunday that he was discharged from the hospital and feels “much better.”

Sunday Roundup: Manziel, Forsett, Jags

As the Panthers have their way with the Seahawks in the early going of this afternoon’s Divisional Round matchup, let’s take a look at some news and notes from around the league:

  • We heard just a few days ago that new Browns head coach Hue Jackson was prepared to move on from Johnny Manziel, and the comments he made during a Bleacher Report interview this morning reaffirmed that sentiment. Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jackson told Bleacher Report that if Manziel was, in fact, in Las Vegas during the season finale, that would indicate to him that Manziel is not starter material. Jackson then went on to say, “I do believe that this team does need a quarterback.”
  • Although it’s certainly not a lock, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com believes the Ravens will bring back Justin Forsett next season. The team would gain only $900K of salary cap space by cutting Forsett, and although the other backs on the team’s depth chart have shown some promise, they have significant flaws and are largely unproven.
  • Packers WR Randall Cobb suffered a bruised lung in last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Jason Wilde of ESPN.com tweets that the team does not yet have an update on Cobb.
  • Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has finally begun his search for a new defensive coordinator in earnest, bringing in Marquand Manuel and Lou Anarumo for interviews last week. Per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Bradley hopes to have the search wrapped up by January 25, and Manuel and/or Anarumo could join the Jacksonville coaching staff even if they don’t land the coordinator position. O’Halloran adds that current defensive line coach Todd Wash could still be promoted to DC.
  • In a separate piece, O’Halloran looks at the issues facing the Jaguars‘ new DC, whoever it may be, including what to do with Jonathan Cyprien and whether the team should pursue an elite corner like Prince Amukamara or Greg Toler in free agency or if it can afford to look for a second-tier option.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com offers his breakdown of the Titans‘ cap situation and free agency outlook.
  • Mark Maske of the Washington Post observes that the teams looking for a new head coach this offseason were thinking offensively. Of the seven new hires, five were offensive coordinators, and the other two (Mike Mularkey and Chip Kelly) are of course offensive-minded.

Extra Points: McCoy, Pats, Sherman, 49ers

The latest from around the NFL as Sunday’s Week 2 action draws closer:

  • A hamstring injury has hampered Bills running back LeSean McCoy since August, and it showed in a 17-carry, 41-yard performance last week in the team’s 27-14 win over Indianapolis. There’s been some question this week as to whether McCoy will play Sunday against AFC East rival New England, but the three-time Pro Bowler is expected to go, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • On the other hand, Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley – who suffered a hip injury early in a Week 1 win versus Pittsburgh – won’t be available to help stop McCoy, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (via Twitter).
  • Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman‘s transition from the outside to the slot could clamp down Packers No. 1 wideout Randall Cobb this week, writes Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today. The Packers have avoided testing Seattle’s all-world corner in the past. If they do again, it could go a long way toward a bounce-back performance from the Seahawks, who are coming off a 34-31 loss in St. Louis.
  • Running back Carlos Hyde was so effective in the 49ers’ 20-3 defeat of Minnesota on Monday that coordinator Geep Chryst suggested it allowed him to keep other aspects of his offense under wraps, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. If Pittsburgh slows down Hyde this week, the onus will be on quarterback Colin Kaepernick to make more plays. Hyde ran over Minnesota for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 26 rushes, while Kaepernick threw for fewer yards (165) on the same amount of attempts (26). To his credit, Kaepernick also added 41 yards on just seven carries.
  • The Steelers are cognizant of Kaepernick’s ability to run, and they’re hoping to force the 27-year-old to beat them with his arm. “Obviously, the plan is not let (Kaepernick) get out in the open field,” said safety Michael Mitchell, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They have a scrambling quarterback and a downhill running back, but we always have to account for Kaepernick.” Added linebacker Ryan Shazier, “We have to make him throw the ball.”