GREEN BAY, Wis. — Randall Cobb was beyond excited to see fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson sign a four-year, $39 million contract extension. While that’s all part of being a good teammate, it also put Cobb next in line to lock in a new deal of his own with the Green Bay Packers.
But as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, Cobb’s attitude about his status in Green Bay was not that of a player who seems anywhere close to getting an extension and joining Nelson on the Packers’ long-term "core players" list.
"I don’t believe I’ve done enough, and I think that’s on me," Cobb said. "I think my job is just to come out here every day, do what I’m supposed to, continue to work hard and hopefully my time will come."
Unlike Nelson, who’s had six years in the NFL to show what he can do, Cobb is still a relative unknown in terms of just how good he can be. And as Cobb pointed out, his 2013 season was limited to just six games when he "got injured in a way that there was nothing" he could about it. That happened in Week 6 when Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam tackled Cobb at the knees, resulting in a fractured tibia in his right leg.
Though it’s clear how talented Cobb is, he doesn’t have nearly the statistical production that Nelson does. The best aspect of Cobb’s resume that he can point to is what he did in 2012 with 80 catches for 954 yards and eight touchdowns. All things considered, those numbers from Cobb would rank as Nelson’s third-best season.
"I feel I have a lot to prove," Cobb said. "I know the player I’m capable of being. It’s just going out and showing that on a day-to-day basis."
Cobb isn’t sure if contract talks are ongoing between his agent and the Packers because he doesn’t want to be given any updates about it.
"I’ve told my agent, don’t even come to me until he feels that we’re at a good spot," Cobb said. "I’m not going to worry about it. I’m not going to stress over it. If the time is supposed to come, it’ll come when it does."Cobb has two very important supporters on his side: quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy. With Rodgers contractually set to work with Nelson until 2019, the former NFL Most Valuable Player wants to ensure that Cobb joins them over the next five years.
"I’d love for Randall to be next," Rodgers said. "He’s a guy who’s done it the right way. He’s been a great leader for us. He’s had some injury issues last year that hurt him that was out of his control, but he’s a consistent performer for us and a great guy in the locker room, as well."
It’s not that Green Bay doesn’t have the cap space to re-sign Cobb. Before the Nelson deal, the Packers had $13.5 million remaining on their 2014 cap. The updated figure hasn’t been released yet as to what amount Green Bay has left now, but with the $11.5 million that Nelson got in signing bonus, it’s likely that the Packers won’t lose much of that $13.5 million in cap space.
"Every coach wants his core guys, no doubt about it," McCarthy said. "You want to sign them all. If I was in charge of the player checkbook, we would have been way over the budget a long time ago.
"Randall is an excellent football player and you always want to see your guys get paid and you continue to grow with them."
For Cobb, it’s not that he doesn’t want to re-sign with the Packers.
"My heart’s in Green Bay; I love Green Bay," Cobb said. "The three years I’ve been here have been unbelievable. But I understand the business side of it."
Cobb has seen the business side unfold within Green Bay’s wide receiver room the past two offseasons. In 2013, Greg Jennings left in free agency to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. This year, James Jones wasn’t offered a new contract and signed with the Oakland Raiders.
Right now, though, it would seem that the biggest issue in the way of Cobb signing an extension centers around the difference between what he has done compared to what he thinks he will do this upcoming season.
Cobb began the 2013 season with back-to-back 100-plus yard receiving games. Before his injury occurred on Oct. 13, Cobb was on pace for more than 1,200 yards and 93 receptions. That would have ranked him as a top-15 wide receiver in the NFL.
"Woulda, coulda, shoulda," Cobb said. "At the end of the day, I didn’t."
Cobb will have even more opportunities to be productive this season. With Jones in Oakland and with pass-catching tight end Jermichael Finley highly unlikely to play for the Packers again, it’s going to be the Nelson and Cobb show in 2014.
"I think the most important thing is to go out every day and just prove myself, and the time will come," Cobb said. "If it’s meant to be, if it’s supposed to be, if I’m supposed to get an extension, if I’m meant to get an extension, it’ll come whenever it’s supposed to."