Why Chris Cooley Makes Sense for the Buffalo Bills

Greg MaiolaSenior Analyst IIAugust 28, 2012

Source: Usatoday.com
Source: Usatoday.com

Chris Cooley is a big name who got released by the Washington Redskins. The Buffalo Bills, who recently cut ties with big names in Shawne Merriman and Vince Young, would certainly benefit from adding Cooley to their roster for a few reasons.

Quite frankly, a tight end hasn't been relevant in a Buffalo Bills offense in quite a while. Sure, Scott Chandler is a capable player who is a nice target for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Chandler found the end zone only twice after scoring four touchdowns in the first three weeks.

Chandler finished his 2011 season with 38 receptions for 389 yards and six scores. Not terrible statistics but a definite letdown from his early-season performance.

In a league where a two tight end set is a hot commodity, Buffalo might only have two tight ends on its initial 53-man roster. Lee Smith is locked in as the No. 2 tight end, while Mike Caussin is on the PUP and Dorin Dickerson is on the roster bubble.

Smith provides Fitzpatrick with a huge 6'6'' frame, but only has four career receptions for 11 yards, all coming last year. Though Smith is relatively unproven, Buffalo can do better at the No. 2 tight end spot.

Buffalo has also made it very clear that it won't settle in its pursuit of a long-awaited playoff berth. Young disappointed as the No. 2 quarterback. So rather than just hope Fitz doesn't get hurt, the Bills acquired Tarvaris Jackson and cut Young.

This offseason they went out and brought in Mario Williams to make their roster as good as it can be.

And for those reasons, bringing in Chris Cooley is a move Buffalo has to make if it really wants to have a playoff roster.

Cooley is a two-time Pro Bowler, a characteristic uncommon for a Buffalo Bill. His presence alone would provide leadership and proof that the Bills will do whatever they can to increase their team's talent.

As an athlete, Cooley just turned 30. He is relatively young and still has quality football in him, even though he has had a major knee injury. Part of the reason for his release was simply due to the emergence of starter Fred Davis in Washington. The Redskins cut Cooley to give him a chance to start elsewhere and Buffalo should be that destination.

Cooley would provide Fitzpatrick with another quality pass-catcher, even if he has in fact lost a step. Anybody who has watched a Bills preseason game knows Fitz can use all the help he can get. Cooley has proven to be effective as at age 29 he became the Redskins all-time leader in career receptions by a tight end.

So if the Bills are serious about becoming a quality team, they need as many quality players as possible. And while this Chris Cooley might not be the same as the 2007 or 2008 version, he still has a lot to offer a football team.

Buffalo has already proven it is not scared to shake things up to better its team. The Bills cut some big names and traded for a decent quarterback. This opportunity to get a quality tight end should be too good for Buffalo to pass up and could be the difference in a questionable offense.