GREEN BAY, Wis. – Among his list of grievances with the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday mentioned the franchise’s treatment of former top players and his belief that the club didn’t respect his personnel opinions.
So, perhaps the trade to acquire receiver Randall Cobb is general manager Brian Gutekunst’s message to Rodgers that the franchise has heard his plea and is willing to change. The trade, rumored to be taking place the past few days, is done. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Packers are giving up a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft to secure the return of Cobb.
“I’m really excited Randall’s coming back,” Rodgers said after Wednesday’s practice. “He’s obviously a dear friend and a guy I still believe in that can really play. He falls into that category that I mentioned earlier, of guys who left here who were high-character guys. It’s the desire, that I’ve talked about before, to finish as a Packer, that has always been really important to me, and it’s important to those guys, as well. To get Randall back is really special. It’s something that I talked about back in February, wanting to bring in a true slot receiver, I thought would make our offense more dynamic. I think Randall’s a dynamic player — he has been when he’s been healthy.”
On the surface, the trade makes little sense beyond appeasing Rodgers. With Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and rookie Amari Rodgers, the Packers’ top four seemed solidified. With big guys Devin Funchess and Equanimeous St. Brown competing for a roster spot along with the likes of Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree, Green Bay’s receiver corps could be strong. And, as Aaron Rodgers stated, there was a need to have a “true” slot receiver. That’s Amari Rodgers, a third-round pick Gutekunst considered taking in the second.
Nonetheless, Gutekunst acquired a receiver who will turn 31 on Aug. 22 and has averaged merely 583 receiving yards the past five seasons.
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“We’re always going to do what we think is best for the Green Bay Packers, and that is for the Green Bay Packers as a whole,” Gutekunst said before the trade was official. “And sometimes when you isolate it, it may not look that way, but when it incorporates other things like your quarterback and things like that, then it becomes what’s best for the Green Bay Packers.”
Interestingly, Amari Rodgers and Cobb are close. When Cobb was at Kentucky, he was coached by Tee Martin. Martin is Rodgers’ father. Cobb was a mentor to Rodgers then and he will be again.
“I know Amari looked up to Randall growing up, being from the same area and having me coach him,” Martin said. “Randall was one of the first people to reach out to him when he was drafted by the Packers. I know that meant a lot to him and it meant a lot for me to have one of my former players with the stature of Randall Cobb, having played for that organization, to reach out to my son, who just got drafted by the organization.”
Cobb was a second-round pick by the Packers in 2011. Davante Adams was a second-round pick in 2014, which was Cobb’s one elite season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. They played five seasons together. The last of those was 2018, when Cobb caught 38 passes in nine games but Adams emerged as the team’s latest stud receiver with 111 receptions.
“I’m ecstatic, man,” Adams said. “He can add a lot to this room. He’s got a lot left in the tank, back healthy from last year. If nothing else, the veteran leadership in that room, we’ve got a lot of young guys. He’s one of my best friends. It’ll be a real positive for this for the whole organization.”