Find a co-worker or friend who loves you the way Aaron Rodgers apparently loves Randall Cobb.

Throughout the offseason, Rodgers has clashed with Green Bay Packers management over the conditions under which he’d return for the 2021-22 season and the remaining terms of his contract. Those issues have apparently been settled and Rodgers reported to Packers training camp on Tuesday (July 27).

But one of the more curious requests from Rodgers in his discussions with the Packers was re-acquiring wide receiver Randall Cobb. Who knew Rodgers felt so strongly for one of his former targets? Yet that was apparently one of the quarterback’s conditions in agreeing to return.

Chalk this up as another concession to Rodgers as the Packers have reportedly made a deal for Cobb, getting him from the Houston Texans. The deal is not yet official, so terms of the trade haven’t been announced. But it’s close enough that Cobb celebrated his return to Green Bay on Twitter.

Cobb played eight seasons for Green Bay, from 2011 through 2018, compiling 470 catches, 5,524 yards, and 41 touchdowns, averaging 11.8 yards per catch. He had the best season of his career with Rodgers in 2014, earning Pro Bowl honors with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards, averaging 14.1 yards per catch, and 12 touchdowns.

The receiver hasn’t really come close to those numbers since, though he did catch 55 passes for 828 yards in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys after signing a one-year, $5 million contract as a free agent. Last season with the Texans, Cobb was limited to 10 games (starting two) due to a toe injury, notching 38 catches for 441 yards and three touchdowns.

How much of Cobb’s reduced production was due to not having a quarterback like Rodgers throw him the ball, being in an offense that didn’t necessarily suit his skills, or being lower on the depth chart with the Cowboys isn’t clear. But a reunion with the Packers might bring some clarity. At the very least, Cobb is among the core players and team leaders who Rodgers didn’t want the team to dismiss.

Devante Adams had another outstanding season as Rodgers’ No. 1 target, catching 115 passes for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns. But the Packers’ offense has been looking for a No. 2 receiver to emerge since releasing Jordy Nelson after the 2017 season. Rodgers made it known during his training camp press conference that he didn’t like the team cutting Jake Kumerow before the 2020 season began.

Both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard caught 33 passes last season and could benefit from a pass-catching threat in the slot. (Rookie Amari Rodgers also figures to be in the mix.) Judging from Rodgers’ comments about letting key veterans go, Cobb is also being viewed as a leader who could mentor the young receiving corps and be sort of a bridge to Rodgers.

Cobb is signed for two more seasons under the three-year, $27 million contract he signed with Houston.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.