Players, coaches and general managers all across the league, besdies those from the four teams playing this weekend, are preparing to make some difficult decisions. One such example is the looming free agency of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.
Cobb put together a full 16 games this season for the first time in his career. That will help him get the injury prone monkey off his back and surely improve his stock in the eyes of suitors. What helps even more is the stellar season he just had. Cobb ranked ninth in receptions (91), 11th in receiving yards (1,287) and fourth in touchdowns (12) this past year.
However, as of mid-December, there had been no progress on extensions talks between his camp and Green Bay.
"There's no contract talks that have been going on right now, so I guess not," Cobb said of his future with the Packers at the time. "I guess there's still more to do. So, just continue to put my nose down every day and focus on getting the team into the playoffs and doing everything I can to bring back the Super Bowl."
Cobb caught eight passes for 116 yards against the Dallas Cowboys last weekend to help push the Packers to the NFC Championship Game.
It's expected that Cobb will want to at least match the contract the New York Jets gave Eric Decker last season (five years, $35 million). That might be difficult to pull off though, as Green Bay recently inked No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson to a four-year deal worth $39 million. While Cobb doesn't turn 25 until August, the Packers do not want to make him the highest paid receiver on the team while Nelson is still performing at an elite level.
For what it's worth (and I think it's worth quite a lot), Cobb has the support of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"There's a lot of guys that embody what it means to be a Packer," Rodgers said in December. "Over the years, there's been a number of guys who really just kind of bought into the Packer way of making it about the team and being a great locker room guy, being a guy you can count on every day to be a great teammate and a great practice player, and great in the community to take ownership of the responsibility to conduct yourself the right way.
"It's been fun to see a lot of those guys get paid and get second contracts and stick around, and Randall is one of those guys who's exactly what I was just talking about."
The Kansas City Chiefs are rumored to be interested in Cobb should he hit the open market.