The Green Bay Packers have plenty of cap space after releasing A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. That doesn't mean GM Ted Thompson is about to deviate from his frugal, long-term approach to team building, however. According to Jason La Canfora, the Packers believe Randall Cobb's market is "likely to get out of hand" and have focused their efforts on retaining other key free agents.
Reports surfaced last week that Cobb and his camp desire a deal worth an average of $9 million per year. While less annually than what Jordy Nelson received last offseason, that price tag significantly exceeds the going rate for a receiver like Cobb who spends the vast majority of his time in the slot. La Canfora's account suggests that either Cobb's actual demands surpass $9 million annually or that the Packers are wary about giving a slot receiver that much money.
At the same time, La Canfora says that Green Bay has turned its attention to free agents Bryan Bulaga and Letroy Guion. In 2014, Bulaga enjoyed his first (mostly) healthy season since 2011, reestablishing himself as one of the league's premier right tackles in the process. Barring an extension, he is set to hit the open market as the top free agent offensive tackle.
As for Guion, he became a surprise starter for Dom Capers' defense after B.J. Raji's torn biceps landed him on injured reserve during the preseason. Guion played well after a slow start, and the team reportedly began working on an extension to keep him in Green Bay. However, Guion was arrested in early February in his hometown for marijuana and gun possession. Though that situation has yet to be resolved, La Canfora says the situation "may be resolved shortly." At that point, Green Bay could return to the negotiating table.
In both of those cases, La Canfora expects the Packers to "get their man in the end." That would mean Aaron Rodgers continues to play behind the team's best offensive line since he become the starter in 2008 and the defense retains its anchor at nose tackle. While Cobb could still depart, that wouldn't be the worst outcome for Green Bay.
UPDATE: In what appears to be a response to La Canfora's report, Cobb tweeted this message Thursday afternoon:
Rule #1: Don't believe everything you hear in the media.— Randall Cobb (@rcobb18) February 26, 2015
Any situation involving a potential free agent tends to change frequently, and both the original report and Cobb's tweet should be approached with that context in mind. Where Cobb and the Packers stand currently is less important than where they stand on March 7, the beginning of free agency's legal tampering period.