Any number of offseason moves raised eyebrows in 2016, but it may one that has flown somewhat under the radar that ends up looking like the best bit of business. Jared Cook might not have enjoyed the best season with the offensively-challenged St. Louis Rams in 2016, but he has a chance to rewrite the script in his first season with the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers signed the speedy tight end to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, handing Cook the chance to not only play on a competitive team, but also — for the first time — with a legitimate quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.
During his career, Cook has never been able to establish a relationship with his quarterback, playing with 11 different signal callers over the course of his seven seasons in the NFL. The move to Green Bay now sees the tight end link up with not only his first elite quarterback, but someone who could well help Cook rediscover his best form and put the Packers offense back on top of the league.
At 29, Cook is very much playing for his NFL future, but being able to play on a strong Packers team will certainly make the tight end’s job easier than it was last year in St. Louis. With Super Bowl odds that are down to 6/1 in some places, it’s clear many expect the Packers to be contenders this season. Although many have discussed the return of Jordy Nelson and the impact of an in-shape Eddie Lacy as the reason this could well be the season the Packers get their hands back on the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Cook may be the real difference-maker.
After a couple decent seasons with the Rams following his move from Tennessee in 2013, Cook suffered a disappointing slip in form last year. In the third year of a five-year contract worth $35 million, Cook caught just 39 passes for 481 yards and no touchdowns — the first season since his rookie year he failed to register a score. While the former third-round draft pick might have expected to take a pay cut to stay with the franchise, the Rams instead made the decision to release Cook, ending his three-year stay in St. Louis.
Offensively, the Rams were disappointing as a whole last season. Cook’s subpar numbers shouldn’t cloud his performances of previous years. Having established himself as an exciting and effective tight end during a successful four seasons with the Titans, Cook was an instant hit in St. Louis, recording over 600 receiving yards in each of his first two years with the Rams. That wasn’t the case last season, though, and the tight end’s lucrative contract only helped to further single him out for criticism and blame. Ultimately, it played a part in his premature departure.
The most obvious attributes Cook brings to the Packers are physicality and speed. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, Cook is the kind of big receiver Mike McCarthy has been asking for. His speed makes him almost impossible to cover for most linebackers. Cook’s presence will open up more room for Jordy Nelson and, especially, Randall Cobb.
There’s also the motivation factor. Cook has never tasted NFL success. He hasn’t played in a single playoff game in his career. More importantly, of course, is that one-year deal.
Cook will be motivated by securing more money and a more substantial deal in 2017, which is probably his last shot at a big-time contract. Add it up and Jared Cook might just turn into the best acquisition of the NFL offseason.
Old news, but still exciting nonetheless. What we have on offense resembles what we had in 2014, only this time we have a capable tight end now. Plus a few more receivers. Conventional wisdom says that the Packers will at least be as good as that team was, and most likely better. The one downgrade is Lane Taylor, who even if he somehow plays as well as Sitton did in pass protection, won’t be anywhere close to as good a run-blocker.
Talking his future potential is cool and all.
But talking about him after he catches 6 passes for 95 yards and 2tds after beating the Jags 45-3, would be much cooler.
Having lost Sitton he will be even more valuable lining up on left side to help young Lane and protect QB1….
…which sucks for anyone who drafted him for his/her fantasy team …. (as I did).
Of course! Wasn’t it, like, the ONLY off season move??