Green Bay P ress-Gazette columnist Pete Dougherty answered questions from readers during a recent chat. For the complete transcript visit packersnews.com.
Q: Pete, seems like $3.5M guaranteed is a lot for 35-year-old (Tramon) Williams. Your thoughts?
A: I thought the same thing. I think it reflects two things: One, Williams played surprisingly well for a player his age last season, and the Packers had a certain level of desperation after all the top CBs went off the board and their shot at Fuller didn't work. Williams is a really springy athlete, sort of a CB version of Donald Driver, so he might be the rare, rare player who can play pretty decent CB at his age. But age is brutal and there's always the chance he could hit a wall soon. That said, I can't blame them for signing him if that's the price it took. He's played in GB, played for Pettine in Cleveland, and is a great guy to have in the locker room. He probably was as good as any option out there.
Q: Do you think there is any chance that (Aaron) Rodgers will opt to extend his contract at a lower value in order to give the Packers more cap room to obtain better players to build a stronger team around him?
I wouldn't think he'd do it grossly so, like, for instance, (Tom) Brady, whose wife from what I've read routinely makes $30M or more a year. Rodgers became the highest-paid player in the league at his last contract but in my opinion could have easily squeezed more money out of the Packers. That suggests he might do it again. So I'm thinking his new deal will be worth $30M a year or a little more with a lot, lot of guaranteed money. I'd think that would be a pretty fair deal for both sides.
Q: Please explain why (Randall) Cobb is still on the roster.
From what I can tell, (Mike) McCarthy really really likes him because of his toughness (playing through injuries) and the versatility you mention, though I also question whether it's really that valuable, especially now that they have a couple real running backs. If I were the Packers I'd have asked him to take a pay cut, but my best guess is that they think if they did, Cobb would refuse and then they'd have to be willing to cut him, and they think that even if they're over- paying him they still need him. Having (Jimmy) Graham to pair with (Davante) Adams should help Cobb, as will (Aaron) Jones at RB if he can stay healthy. Cobb is a good player and has a good chemistry with Rodgers when plays break down, which is a big part of the Packers' offense. He's quick but not super explosive — not a Percy Harvin-type for sure — as you point out. He's a small target, so throws to him have to be right on the money, just not the catch radius of bigger guys. I see both sides and there's room for reasonable people to disagree, but I'd have gone for the pay cut if I were the Packers. That said, maybe playing with Graham and Adams will open things up for Cobb and he'll be more productive this year.
Q: A question here about the job security of McCarthy. How much is on the line for him with the new management structure?
I'm sure a lot is on the line for him. From what I can see and have heard, things worked about the way he hoped with (Brian) Gutekunst getting the job and all three FB guys (MM, Gutekunst and (Russ) Ball) reporting directly to (Mark) Murphy.
The versatility of Packers receiver Randall Cobb may have helped keep him on the roster.