Some of the biggest dominoes in this NFL offseason continue to fall before free agency even starts.
Randall Cobb, the top wideout set to hit the market, will be staying in Green Bay. The wide receiver has agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract to remain with the Green Bay Packers, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported via a source informed of the deal. $17 million is guaranteed, and Rapoport reports Cobb turned down more money elsewhere to stay in Green Bay.
The move is a disappointment for receiver-hungry teams like the Raiders that looked poised to spend obscene amounts of cap space in free agency. With Cobb off the board, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Torrey Smith should step to the front of the class. (Rapoport reported Friday that the Jets will release Harvin.)
The four-year pact makes a ton of sense for both sides. Packers general manager Ted Thompson hoards cap space and is cautious in free agency because he wants to keep his homegrown successes. It would have been tough to watch Cobb walk out the door when he's such a perfect fit for Mike McCarthy's offense. The deal reminds us of Sam Shields' big contract last year; Green Bay pays a premium to avoid finding out what's behind free agency door No. 2.
This contract will run out before Cobb is 30. As long as he stays healthy, this should be one of those rare big free-agent deals that reaches its conclusion. Cobb excels at yards after the catch, and has a quarterback that is uniquely gifted at getting him the ball in stride. When the play breaks down for Aaron Rodgers, Cobb is the first player he looks to.
Cobb and Jordy Nelson are now signed through 2018. Rodgers is on the books until 2019, which means this trio has a chance to put up ridiculous numbers together for a long time. Thompson has done an excellent job keeping Rodgers supplied with talent throughout his career, and that won't change anytime soon.