Aaron Rodgers ended his tumultuous offseason with a reworked deal, some unbridled and raw press conference commentary from training camp and also a concession from the Green Bay Packers to return Randall Cobb to his war chest for 2021. The organization struck a deal with the Houston Texans to send a sixth-round pick to South Texas and promised to eat a large portion of his coming salary as well in return for the Pro Bowl wideout, in a move that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst openly admitted was at the behest of Rodgers — whom Green Bay was throwing the kitchen sink at to woo back into the building.
“Obviously without Aaron, I don’t think we would probably be pursuing that, but he’s still a really good player,” Gutekunst told media on Thursday, via the Associated Press. “Seeing him last night just kind of reminded me of what kind of impact he’ll have in our locker room for our football team. This is a very important thing for Aaron, and that’s why we did it.”
Cobb couldn’t be happier with how things are unfolding after spending a year in misery with the Texans — en route to a 4-12 finish and an upheaval in both the front office and within the coaching staff, and now the sexual misconduct allegations against quarterback Deshaun Watson taking center stage. Now freed from the Texans and having already reported to training camp for the organization that gave him the nod as a second-round pick in 2011, the 30-year-old opened up about the move.
And in quite the descriptive fashion.
“I can breathe again,” Cobb said Thursday, via Packers press conference. “I’ve seen the other side, and I’m excited to be back here and I’m smiling. It’s funny my teammates said you act like you just got out of prison. I’m very, very, very excited to be here.
“That’s nothing against Houston. Whenever I talk about that, I’m thinking of … Green Bay’s like a Fortune 500 company and the Texans like a new franchise. They’re a startup that’s figuring out their way. I think that the moves that they made when they brought [general manager Nick Caserio] in and coach [head coach David Culley], I think that they’re on a path.
“I think they have a plan in place. I saw a lot of things changing over the past four months that I was there. I’ve been rehabbing the entire offseason, so I saw all the different changes. I know they’re doing right. They’re trending in the right direction.”
It’s a nice attempt by Cobb to avoid calling the Texans what everyone currently knows them to be: a dumpster fire.
To be rescued from that by the same reigning league MVP who helped make Cobb a superstar receiver at one point in his NFL career has to have the 30-year-old walking on clouds going into the 2021 season. Cobb left Green Bay in free agency to sign a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 before then leaving the Cowboys for the Texans on a three-year, $27 million contract that included $18 million guaranteed. He’d go on to battle injury and log just two starts in 10 games, but still delivering 441 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Just one year into his deal, he’s shipped out in exchange for a late-round pick, but he’s not complaining one bit.