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NFL Draft

How Is Packers’ Randall Cobb Trade Working Out?

  • The Draft Network
  • September 24, 2021
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The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were the main players in the NFL’s biggest offseason drama. It got so bad this summer that there were serious doubts whether Rodgers would ever take a snap for the Packers again.

You probably know the reasons behind the rift by now. Rodgers was (and continues to be) angry with general manager Brian Gutekunst for selecting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, a decision that was the proverbial straw that broke No. 12’s back after years of in-the-dark transactions that frustrated the surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.

"I think we can all understand, you know, Green Bay isn't a huge vacation destination," Rodgers said in July. "People are coming here to play with me, play with our team, knowing that they can win a championship here, and the fact that I haven't been used in those discussions was one I wanted to change moving forward."

Cooler heads (sort of) prevailed in the end. The Packers restructured Rodgers’ contract and agreed to acquire one of his best buddies, wide receiver Randall Cobb, in a trade with the Houston Texans.

It was a bizarre concession by a front office that’s long been known for sticking to its established best practices that include putting the team over the individual player. But in this instance, it did make some sense to do whatever it took to make Rodgers happy. It’s a pretty solid public relations win with the fan base, too, who welcomed Cobb back to Lambeau Field with open arms.

But was it a good football decision? 

After two games of the 2021 season, Cobb has failed to make an impact on offense. He’s played just 27 snaps (only nine more than Love, by the way). He was targeted just once in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints (he secured the catch and went for 32 yards) and drew three targets (three receptions, 26 yards) in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.

Two games. Four targets. Four catches. 58 yards.

Granted, the Packers didn’t give up much to acquire Cobb. They traded a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft for him, but the investment in Amari Rodgers—the Clemson Tigers standout pass-catcher who they selected in this year’s third round—made the Cobb trade seem superfluous.

Cobb, 31, has already played his best football. But Amari Rodgers, an exciting rookie with a lot more juice than his elder teammate, is blocked in the lineup as a result of the make-the-quarterback-happy trade. Rodgers has just one target for the year and has played only 15 snaps in the first two games. He didn’t see the field for any reps in Week 2.

Is it possible Cobb will elevate his level of play and become one of the critical pieces in the Packers’ offense as the season marches on?  Sure, but he has only one season in his career with more than 1,000 receiving yards (way back in 2014) and has eclipsed 800 receiving yards just once since 2016. Unless he’s sipping from the fountain of youth, a season like he had for Houston in 2020 is a reasonable and logical projection: 38 catches, 441 yards, and three touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers wants to be more involved in Green Bay’s personnel decisions, and he got his first public swing at getting his guy with Cobb. Maybe he should just stick to tossing touchdowns.

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