Chris Cooley: Veteran Tight End Would Be Ideal Pickup for Miami Dolphins

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Deon Grant #34 of the New York Giants forces a fourth quarter fumble against Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins on December 5, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Tight ends—like Chris Cooley—with capable hands and veteran savvy are a rookie quarterback's best friend, but Ryan Tannehill's coveted safety valve won't be found anywhere on the Miami Dolphins' current roster.

If Jeff Ireland and the Miami brass are smart, that will change before the season begins. Cooley needs work after the Redskins released him on Tuesday, and Miami needs talent.

Cooley isn't who he once was, but he's still extremely capable. Injuries have forced him to miss 20 games in the past three seasons, but he's played a full 16-game schedule seven times in his NFL career.

He won't be expensive, and his value far outweighs his price if you're the Dolphins.

Miami currently has Anthony Fasano as their No. 1 tight end, and Charles Clay as their second option. Fasano caught 32 passes for 451 yards and five touchdowns last year. Clay caught 16 passes for 233 yards last season. Neither are bad, but when was insurance ever a bad thing?

The Dolphins will put Tannehill out there in Week 1 regardless of the players surrounding him. With Chad Johnson's release earlier this offseason, and Brandon Marshall's departure before camp started, the rookie signal-caller isn't exactly entering an ideal situation.

For a quarterback, confidence is everything. The Dolphins would be wise to swaddle their draft darling with sure-handed, consistent targets. Legedu Naanee doesn't quite hit that category, and Davone Bess is a slot receiver by trade.

If Tannehill isn't going to have a bonafide No. 1 target, Cooley is the least Miami can do for him. In his nine-year career, Cooley has over 4,000 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns on 428 career catches.

He only played in five games last season, so assuming he's healthy, there's no reason to believe the former Utah State Aggie isn't fresh. He missed nine games in 2009 and came back with a 77-catch, 849-yard performance the following season.

This is essentially the same situation, he's just a few years older.

I'm not saying that Cooley will show up in Miami and turn this team around by himself, but he would be a valuable asset for a young quarterback. Tannehill is going to look for "check-down" options, and Cooley would fit that role perfectly.

With Fasano already in place, the Dolphins wouldn't have to run Cooley ragged. This would keep him fresh and allow him to do his job for 16 games.

Miami's offense is in shambles, and asking Tannehill to lead their current bunch is a tall task to put on a rookie's shoulders.

Cooley isn't the answer, but he would be an ideal addition for a team with nothing to lose.