Perhaps one of the most heated debates in the early offseason stages for Green Bay fans is what to make of the wide receiver position. On one hand, Aaron Rodgers has possibly one of the league’s best trios of wide receivers to throw the ball too; on the other, it’s an expensive, aging and arguably overrated group of guys who were exposed during Brett Hundley‘s time at the helm. While the position most definitely will require some attention by GM Brian Gutekunst in either free agency or the upcoming draft, Packer Nation can rest assured that the return of #12 will undoubtedly elevate the play of whoever is split out wide.

Davante Adams:

2017 Stats: 14 games, 74 receptions, 885 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns

Contract Situation: Signed through 2021 season

Move over Jordy Nelson, there’s a new sheriff in town. It’s hard to believe that just two seasons ago many, myself included, were calling for the Fresno State alum to be released in favor of guys like Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. Of course, the Packers had other ideas and here we are, two years later and Adams is the undisputed #1 receiver in the Packers offense. Adams was en route to a career year with Rodgers at quarterback, and even though his numbers waned a little with Hundley under center, he avoided the tumultuous fall that the other receivers endured. Adams may not be known as the best route runner, the fastest deep threat, or the most sure-handed guy on the team, he plays all facets of the position well and is just entering the prime of his career. Fresh off a huge 4-year, $58 million contract signed prior to Week 17, expectations are extremely high for Adams as he enters his fifth season as a pro.

Jordy Nelson:

2017 Stats: 15 games, 53 receptions, 482 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns

Contract Situation: Signed through 2018 season

Take one look around the internet at Green Bay media and you’ll see countless headlines saying that Jordy Nelson should be cut due to his age (he turns 33 in May) and his $12.5 million cap hit for the upcoming season. While Jordy clearly showed signs of aging as the season wore on, Rodgers will fix all when it comes to his longtime friend and go-to receiver. It’s easy to forget that Nelson had a league-leading 6 touchdown receptions in the first five games of the season, prior to Rodgers breaking his collarbone. While I don’t think the 11-year pro will ever return to his 2014 form (98 receptions, 1500+ yards), he can be a deadly weapon for the Packers from the slot and is a good bet to hit double-digit touchdowns in 2018. Yes, he will be expensive next season, but I do believe that Jordy would be amiable to a pay cut to stay with Green Bay, as he is smart enough to understand that he is most valuable and effective donning the Green and Gold.

Randall Cobb:

2017 Stats: 15 games, 66 receptions, 653 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns; 9 rushing attempts, 17 rushing yards

Contract Situation: Signed through 2018 season

Similar to Jordy Nelson, Cobb has been the subject of numerous “Cap Casualty” headlines heading into the 2018 offseason. These headlines are much more believable to me in the case of the 27-year old however, as he has been a pretty sharp decline ever since signing his 4-year, $40 million deal at the conclusion of the 2014 season. In fact, he has not posted a 1000 yard season since signing his deal. While Cobb does not post gaudy numbers on the stat sheet, he is one of Rodgers’ favorite targets and routinely works his tail off to get open. Like the Jordy situation, I feel as though it would be a mistake to outright release Cobb, however I do not believe he can play out the 2018 season with his $12.7 million cap hit. I also do not believe he would be open to a pay cut. Instead, I see the Packers extending his deal 2-3 years and reducing his cap hit to a much more manageable number, something in the range of $5-$7 million per year. Cobb will lose out on money in the short term, but makes up for it with job security and more money long term. In turn, Green Bay gets to hold onto their best slot receiver and a trusted target for their franchise quarterback.

Geronimo Allison:

2017 Stats: 15 games, 23 receptions, 253 receiving yards

Contract Situation: Exclusive Rights Free Agent this March

We’ve reached the point in the wide receiver depth chart where the dropoff between starters and depth is apparent. Allison, a third-year pro out of Illinois, is a big target but lacks big-play potential that will relegate him to the fourth or fifth option at best in most offenses. He did not do much this past season to build on a promising rookie season, even though the absence of Rodgers must be taken into account. Expect the Packers to offer a minimum tender to Allison, bringing him back for another season to compete for a spot on a cheap deal. But also expect Green Bay to look for more talented options who have the potential to be a starter on this offense, not just a role-player.

Trevor Davis:

2017 Stats: 16 games, 3 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 1 touchdown; 2 rushing attempts, 13 rushing yards; 9 punt returns, 115 return yards

Contract Situation: Signed through 2019 season

After two seasons in the NFL, it appears as though Davis is going down the path of Jeff Janis, that of a lightning fast receiver who oozes athleticism, but lacks the tools to put it all together on offense. This is no more apparent than in Week 16 in a divisional matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Down 10-0 in the third quarter, Brett Hundley through a deep bomb to the right side of the field to an open Trevor Davis that fell incomplete. To Hundley’s credit, it was a beautifully placed pass, but Davis made a feeble attempt to catch it and was not targeted the rest of the contest. The third-year product from Cal was drafted to be a deep threat capable of taking the top off defenses, but efforts like that will certainly find you the fastest way to the bench, not the secondaries of defenses. The Packers also tried to utilize his athleticism on punt return units, but Davis all too often made mistake fielding the ball, taking it from his own endzone on one occasion, and letting it bounce too far away from the goal line on many others. While he did flash huge upside on his overtime, game-altering return against Cleveland, he absolutely needs to cut down on mistakes to make the roster come August.

Jeff Janis:

2017 Stats: 16 games, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards; 2 rushing attempts, 38 rushing yards, 1 touchdown

Contract Situation: Unrestricted Free Agent this March

A folk-hero who will go down in Packers history for his game-saving Hail Mary’s in the 2015 Arizona playoff game, Janis has been all but fazed out of the offense at this point in career. Time and time again, it has been made apparent that he does not fit at the receiver position in Green Bay, as just like Davis he seems to be out of sync with whomever is lining up under center. However, that does not mean that he has not found his niche in Green Bay. While he may be listed as a WR officially on the roster, Janis is a phenomenal weapon as a gunner on special teams coverage units, combining his speed with punter Justin Vogel‘s hang-time to give opposing returners fits. Janis will certainly be welcomed back in free agency this spring, it all just comes down to whether he is content to return on a veteran minimum deal to play special teams or if he wants to try his luck at the wide receiver position with one of the other 31 NFL teams.

Michael Clark:

2017 Stats: 2 games, 4 receptions, 41 receiving yards

Contract Situation: Exclusive Rights Free Agent this March

Clark, a physically imposing 6′ 6″ receiver with only one year of college football under his belt, is an extremely raw but athletic receiver who spent almost all season on the practice squad. He was sight to see in camp last year, making plays seemingly every practice and drew heaps of praise from Packers’ defensive backs. Clark will certainly be retained in free agency this offseason, and although it may be a couple seasons before he makes a real impact in the offense, he has sky-high potential and is a matchup nightmare for opposing cornerbacks. Having played primarily basketball up until two years ago, Clark still has a lot to learn fundamental-wise at the position and has more potential than probably any receiver in this offense, save for Adams.

Position of Need: Medium as it stand now, High if Nelson and/or Cobb is released

No matter what comes of the Jordy/Cobb situation, the Packers should do everything they can to get younger, faster, and cheaper at the wide receiver position to reload Rodgers’ arsenal heading into the back nine of his career. Nelson and Cobb aren’t getting younger, Adams isn’t getting any cheaper, and the Packers have very little in terms of potential behind the Big Three to develop into a long-term starter opposite Davante Adams. Look for the Packers to draft a receiver in Rounds 1-3, and potentially sign a modestly-priced speedster in free agency along the lines of Paul Richardson, John Brown, or Donte Moncrief.


All statistics courtesy of

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