Due to the emergence of Fred Davis, the Redskins made it clear that Cooley would be the No. 2 tight end. Cooley was released at this point to give him a chance to find a new NFL home as quickly as possible and potentially start elsewhere.
This divorce sees a fan favorite and two-time Pro Bowler leave the team. Although Cooley's contract was said to have no influence on this decision, he would have counted $6 million against the salary cap.
This move appears to be a win-win as the Redskins move forward with Davis as the tight end, and Cooley will get an opportunity to contribute elsewhere.
At age 30, Cooley might want to find a lesser role on a team that will compete for the Super Bowl. He is still one of the game's better receiving tight ends and shouldn't have a problem finding work elsewhere.
Cooley missed extensive time in 2011 due to a knee injury but is healthy and playing well at this point of the season.
He is versatile and young enough to quickly find a new home and contribute immediately.