Matt Ludtke/Associated Press
Green Bay shouldn't wait until both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are set to become unrestricted free agents in the 2015 offseason to think about how to address the situation and keep both their star receivers on the team...without a debilitating cap hit.
Rather, the Packers should think about offering Cobb an extension this offseason.
Cobb is developing into a multidimensional threat for the Packers and can look forward to a bright future as one of the best slot receivers in the game.
His contract extension would certainly cost the Packers in the long run. But in terms of what helps them both get through this offseason, in which they have 17 players ready to walk if they don't get paid, and next offseason, in which their two star receivers are set to become free agents, it would be a wise move.
What will that deal look like for Cobb?
It's reasonable to think that Cobb's deal would be worth more than the recent precedent his agent is sure to be considering in Danny Amendola's five-year, $31 million deal with the New England Patriots (with $10 million in guarantees). He's simply worth more to the Packers and is a favorite target of Rodgers'.
It's even possible that his potential new deal would be in the neighborhood of what Victor Cruz received from the New York Giants: a six-year, $46 million deal with $15.6 million in guarantees.
The key for Green Bay to make this move cost-effective, however, would be to back end Cobb's payday. If, for example, they wanted to sign him to a five-year extension, the Packers would want to give him a signing bonus that would not count against the cap in 2014 and structure the majority of his base salary to hit the cap in the final two or three years of the deal.
Because Amendola received $10 million in guarantees, it's likely Cobb's representation could negotiate a hefty up-front signing bonus. This move would help the Packers immensely with their cap management in both 2014 and 2015.
Salary cap numbers courtesy of OverTheCap.com.