<
>

Mailbag: Crazy to let Randall Cobb walk?

Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. As the Packers prepare to travel to Minneapolis for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, let's address some of this week's key topics:


Demovsky: It may not take $9 million a year to re-sign Randall Cobb. The Giants gave Victor Cruz a deal that averages about $7.3 million per year total (including what was left over from his previous contract). As I wrote this week, that's probably the ballpark for a new deal, and the feeling around the league is the Packers will get it done. That said, the longer Cobb continues to produce at the rate he has been, the higher the price could go. But Cobb is exactly the kind of player GM Ted Thompson likes to keep. He's young (24), productive and home-grown (a second-round pick in 2011). They do have a lot of young receivers in house but other than Davante Adams, who among them has proven anything yet?


Demovsky: That's because it has not been much of an issue. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Packers' drop percentage is on pace to be the lowest that it has been in coach Mike McCarthy's nine seasons. So far, they have dropped only 3.5 percent of passes. Their second-lowest rate was last season (3.9 percent). They were at their worst in 2012, when they had a drop rate of 6.8 percent, which was tied for the second-worst in the NFL. However, dropped passes contributed to several key plays this season. All three of Aaron Rodgers' interceptions have come off tipped passes that can easily be graded as drops. Also, outside linebacker Julius Peppers has one of the drops when used as a goal-line receiver in the loss at New Orleans.


Demovsky: I asked McCarthy that question Friday. Not that I expected to get a firm answer since he's not going to reveal his game plan, but reading between the lines it seemed like they would still use Clay Matthews at inside linebacker even if Nick Perry can't play because of his shoulder injury. It would open up more playing time for Mike Neal and possibly even Jayrone Elliott at outside linebacker. Matthews on the inside has been too productive to scrap until they find a better full-time option at that spot.


Demovsky: In short, no. It does not seem like a long-term solution. It was born out of necessity after the Packers did not get a shot in the draft at the inside linebacker they wanted most, Alabama's C.J. Mosley, and were unhappy with the productivity from Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington. They surely will be on the lookout for help at that position next season. That doesn't mean Clay Matthews won't still move around but eventually, probably next season, he will go back to playing on the edge more often than inside.


Demovsky: Dom Capers has done some of that with Julius Peppers but not to the degree he has with Matthews, and he probably won't. Don't forget that for 12 years, Peppers played defensive end. He had to learn outside linebacker this offseason. It would probably take away from his effectiveness to now start teaching him inside linebacker. Also, Matthews is probably more fluid in the open field than Peppers.