Former Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley played a little armchair general manager today after the Los Angeles Rams released tight end Jared Cook.
TE Jared Cook 2 Greenbay! #GoPackGo. I said it 1st.
We’re all well aware of the Packers shortcomings at the tight end position in 2015. It stands to reason they’ll be looking for an upgrade in 2016.
We also know that Finley doesn’t think much of Richard Rodgers, the Packers’ de facto starter. When coach Mike McCarthy fired tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot following the season, Finley was quick to point to Rodgers as the culprit.
Is Cook the answer?
He’s certainly had some solid seasons. The best came in 2011, when Cook caught 49 for 759 with Tennessee. He signed as a free agent with the Rams in 2013. In his three seasons in St. Louis, Cook had 671, 634 and 481 yards receiving.
Those are declining returns for a guy that’s 28 years old. He did, however, play with some pretty bad quarterbacks in 2015 (Nick Foles, Case Keenum, etc.). Even then, his 12.3 yards per catch was substantially better than Rodgers’ 8.8.
Would the Packers be interested?
Let’s be honest here.
General manager Ted Thompson has historically only been interested in the draft. Despite the internal strife that bubbled to the surface in 2015, we will only believe Thompson has adapted his roster-building strategy when we actually see him do something different.
Is this something different?
Thompson has picked up players released by other teams in the past, most notably defensive lineman Letroy Guion and linebacker Julius Peppers. Not nearly as notably — Matthew Mulligan, Phillip Merling, Daniel Muir, K.C. Asiodu, Charlie Peprah, Anthony Smith, Kenderick Allen, Billy Cundiff, Raynoch Thompson, Earl Little and Arturo Freeman.
What’s the common thread there?
Value or, more accurately, thriftiness.
With the exception of Peppers, all of those players came cheap and as is usually the case when you buy something that’s cheap, you get what you pay for.
Guion and Peppers are the only two to make a significant impact and most of the players on that list didn’t even make the team.
As for tight ends, the Packers had a similar opportunity to sign free agent tight end Owen Daniels in both 2014 and 2015. He had 48 catches for 527 yards in Baltimore in 2014 and 46 catches for 517 yards with the Broncos in 2015.