Packers’ leftover salary cap room provides options

Weston Hodkiewicz
Press-Gazette Media;

The Green Bay Packers are $13,515,388 under the 2014 salary cap, giving them ample room to work out possible extensions with Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb, or re-sign tight end Jermichael Finley.

Now, it’s up to general manager Ted Thompson to decide what they’ll do with it.

On Thursday, the Packers signed their final two draft picks, second-round receiver Davante Adams and third-round tight end Richard Rodgers, and they still have wiggle room partially due to their $9.8 million carryover from last year’s cap.

Nelson, 29, recently told reporters he wants to stay in Green Bay and is optimistic a resolution to his contract situation could be reached by training camp, but it’s unlikely the Packers will get the same discount with Nelson they received the first time around.

Since signing a three-year, $12.6 million extension in October 2011, Nelson has developed into quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ primary target with 202 catches for 3,322 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

Eric Decker set the market for receivers in March when he struck a five-year, $36 million deal with the New York Jets. DeSean Jackson (three years, $24 million), Golden Tate (five years, $31 million) and Riley Cooper (five years, $25 million) also received lucritive paydays, though all three are younger than Nelson.

Nelson still will command a top market and could bring home a deal similiar to the one Vincent Jackson received in March 2012 from Tampa Bay (five years, $55 million), which came two months after his 29th birthday.

Cobb doesn’t have Nelson’s production, but his market should be interesting given the fact he’ll turn 24 in August. He missed 10 games with a broken tibia last season, but has averaged 5.2 catches, 66 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game over his past two seasons.

The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Cobb also has been used as an occasional running back. He has a 13.2-yard per carry average in 16 career attempts not to mention his abilities on special teams.

The Packers also will need to consider the future of tight end Jermichael Finley, who has been cleared from his C-3 and C-4 neck fusion by his surgeon and Pittsburgh team doctor Joseph Maroon.

Finley, 27, said earlier this offseason he wants to get paid like the emerging tight end he was before sustaining a bruised spinal cord in an Oct. 20, 2013 game against Cleveland, but may have to accept a prove-it deal if he still wishes to play.

Finley dropped by Lambeau Field to talk with team doctor Patrick McKenzie, but there’s been no indication the Packers have examined his surgically repaired neck. Coach Mike McCarthy has stated countless times this offseason that he hopes to have Finley back.

— and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

Open practices

Packers minicamp public practices

When: 11:30 a.m. today and Thursday.

Where: Nitschke Field (subject to weather).