Packers 2018 offseason position review: Wide receivers

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 31: Randall Cobb
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 31: Randall Cobb /

Breaking down the Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver position.

Just a few years ago, the Packers boasted one of the league’s top receiving duos in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Those days are over, and both Nelson and Cobb face uncertain futures.

Davante Adams has taken the throne as Green Bay’s top pass catcher, but how will it unfold behind him on the depth chart this offseason?

What’s next for Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb?

The contracts of Nelson and Cobb have become a big talking point already this offseason.

And it makes sense. The pair are set for cap hits of just below $13 million in 2018, according to Over The Cap. For perspective, Nelson and Cobb have the 10th and ninth highest cap hit respectively for the position in the NFL.

That’s before you factor in Adams. His $10.54 million cap hit for 2018 ranks 15th among wide receivers. All told, the Packers are paying out approximately $38 million to the wide receiver position alone, by far the largest amount in the NFL. The Buccaneers are No. 2 with approximately $27 million spent at the position.

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers /

Green Bay Packers

That doesn’t necessarily mean the team will part ways with one, or both, of these two receivers. They might not even look to restructure one of the deals.

After all, Nelson and Cobb are entering contract years. This spike at the receiver position doesn’t hurt the team’s cap. They can afford to keep all three reasonably comfortably.

That said, general manager Brian Gutekunst has a few tough decisions to make.

First, are Nelson and Cobb playing at a high enough level to keep around?

In my opinion, the answer is yes. While Nelson struggled to produce with Brett Hundley and isn’t the explosive player he once was, he’s still a savvy route runner. He can still get open a number of ways. Cobb, too, played better than his numbers suggest.

But if Gutekunst can trim some cash off of this year’s cap by restructuring one of their deals (more likely to be Nelson’s), then it wouldn’t be a bad move to make.

When will Packers add another wide receiver?

There’s a part two to this question. If Gutekunst keeps both around, will it impact any decision to draft another receiver?

This is where he has a number of options. If Gutekunst decides it’s time to move on from Nelson, it could open the door to bring in a wide receiver via free agency. While it would likely cost similar, if not more, money to go and get an Allen Robinson or a Sammy Watkins on the open market, it would allow the Packers to get younger, and more talented at the position.

If Nelson and Cobb stay at either their current price or even slightly below, it’s unlikely Gutekunst would spend top dollar to grab another in free agency.

But he could use the draft to find Nelson’s eventual successor. Maybe it’ll happen as early as No. 14.

It might sound counterintuitive to pass up one of the draft’s top defensive talents so high, but imagine a scenario in which the Packers selected a Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton to pair with Adams for the future.

Next: Packers: 12 players that need to go this offseason

That could quickly become one of the team’s top receiving duos.