Packers Rumors: Aaron Rodgers' Return 'Hinging' on Trade for Texans' Randall Cobb

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2021

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09:  Randall Cobb #18 and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers meet before the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers apparently is very interested in a reunion with former teammate Randall Cobb. 

According to Trey Wingo of the Pro Football Network and Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, Rodgers' return to Green Bay is contingent upon the Packers finding a way to land the Houston Texans wideout:

trey wingo @wingoz

Hearing Rodgers coming back to GB hinging on trading for former teammate Randall Cobb . If Cobb is in Green Bay it looks like Rodgers will be too

Jonathan Jones @jjones9

As <a href="https://twitter.com/wingoz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@wingoz</a> noted, Aaron Rodgers absolutely wants Randall Cobb back with the Packers. Source tells me that desire set in motion the Texans trading for former Bears WR Anthony Miller over the weekend. As Rodgers compromise with GB settles, this trade should happen.

Rodgers' situation with the Packers is fluid. But based off of reporting Monday, it appears he and the Packers are nearing an agreement that will see him return this season but give him a say in where he plays after the 2021 campaign:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

*Aaron Rodgers’ contract would be adjusted with no loss of income this year to give the Packers more cap room now.<br><br>•Mechanisms will be put in place to address Rodgers’ issues with the team. <a href="https://t.co/Ku9X9k9lXP">https://t.co/Ku9X9k9lXP</a>

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The reworked deal for Aaron Rodgers includes him having a say in his future in 2022 and 2023. <a href="https://t.co/EkQi7dZTXE">https://t.co/EkQi7dZTXE</a>

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

If Packers’ officials sign off on their willingness to trade Aaron Rodgers, and the agreement is finalized soon, here’s the biggest concession the reigning MVP will receive: the freedom to decide where he wants to play in 2022.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

And throw a no-trade clause in there so he can veto destinations he doesn't want to go to.

OK, so Rodgers is likely to be back for one more season. But why prioritize getting back a player in Cobb who is 30 and caught just 38 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns last year in 10 games with the Houston Texans? 

Will Cobb really upgrade the Packers offense so significantly that Rodgers has made it a major priority to obtain him?

Probably not, but it could simply be based on familiarity. Cobb and Rodgers played together for eight seasons in Green Bay, with Cobb holding down the slot role. While he only had one truly elite season—a Pro Bowl campaign in 2014 that saw him catch 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all easily career highs—he was a reliable target for Rodgers. 

Remember, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported in May that Rodgers "wanted to be more involved in some of the personnel decisions," and that it "drove Rodgers nuts" when the Packers cut Jake Kumerow in September, a day removed from the veteran quarterback praising the wideout. Rapoport said it was something of a "'death knell' in the relationship" between Rodgers and the Packers.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: Summing up the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Packers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Packers</a> situation with QB Aaron Rodgers, who also wanted more input in personnel decisions... and how the Jake Kumerow release (!!) played into it. <a href="https://t.co/EOGG9aQg3R">pic.twitter.com/EOGG9aQg3R</a>

Rodgers clearly felt comfortable with Kumerow, despite the wideout catching just 20 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons with Green Bay. Sometimes, that comfort level trumps previous production or talent level. And in Cobb's case, the two have proven to work well together. 

Basing a decision on his future in Green Bay, contingent upon Cobb's acquisition, seems dramatic. The Packers already have a nice one-two punch at wide receiver in Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. But if trading for Cobb will ease tensions between Rodgers and the organization in what is shaping up to be his last year in Green Bay, it's an easy enough decision for the front office.