Packers trying to get Randall Cobb signed

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers have the salary-cap space to use the franchise tag on Randall Cobb, but they hope to work out a long-term deal with the receiver.

Monday marks the first day teams can use the tags, which Kevin Seifert explains here.

There's no indication that Packers general manager Ted Thompson would resort to using the tag to keep Cobb. Thompson has until March 2, a week before free agency begins, to decide.

Although the final numbers have not been set, the franchise tag for receivers last season was $12.312 million – the third-highest figure behind quarterbacks ($16.192 million) and defensive ends ($13.116 million). Those numbers increase annually.

Indications are that Cobb is seeking a deal that averages in the $9 million per year range. That would come close to the four-year, $39 million contract extension the Packers gave receiver Jordy Nelson last summer.

It's unclear how far talks have progressed, if they have at all, between the Packers and Cobb's agent, Jimmy Sexton. Sexton did not return a message left Monday. The two sides likely will meet later this week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Cobb, who won't turn 25 until Aug. 22, is hitting free agency as he comes off his best season with 91 catches, 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns.

According to ESPN Stats & Information salary data, the Packers will have to count $124,476,946 on their salary cap beginning March 10, when the top-51 contracts are charged against the cap. The official cap number for 2015 has not been set, but it's expected to be around $140 million. That would leave the Packers with just over $15 million in space.

However, according to the NFL Players Association, the Packers also will carry over $7,791,106 in unused space from last season, giving them nearly $23 million available cap room.

The Packers also could pick up an additional $7.25 million in cap space if they released linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones, who saw their playing time dwindle last season.