The Green Bay Packers are finally on the board in free agency as the last team to sign a player from outside their own organization. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, free agent tight end Jared Cook is in Green Bay today to sign a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the Packers.
Cook is coming off a down season for the St. Louis Rams in which he caught 39 passes for 481 yards and no touchdowns while falling out of favor with the team. His best season came in 2013 for the Rams when he caught 51 passes for 671 yards and five touchdowns.
Cook has long been predicted as a breakout candidate due to his size and speed combination. It has yet to happen due to his own issues and a lack of good quarterback play with the Rams and Tennessee Titans. While Cook has posted mediocre career numbers, averaging 12.8 yards per catch is exactly what the Packers desperately need at tight end. Richard Rodgers averaged a brutal 8.8 yards per catch last year, including the famous Hail Mary catch that boosts that number. Cook can stretch the seam and is going to demand attention and open up the offense even if he doesn’t always catch the ball. Pro Football Focus had Cook with 10 drops last season, which was the most among tight end. He’s also not a good blocker and has had some issues with his teammates.
The deal makes a ton of sense for both parties. Cook has a one-year deal to try to get a long term contract while playing with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers get a tight end who fits their biggest need on a cheap contract, does not cost a compensatory pick and can be a nice holdover to next season’s exciting draft tight end class. Getting tight end filled should allow the Packers to focus on the trenches in April’s NFL draft, both along the offensive line and the defensive front seven.