Tight end Jared Cook reached an agreement Monday with the Green Bay Packers.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, citing a source, originally reported Cook's one-year contract is worth $3.6 million, which ESPN's Josina Anderson supported. Cook's agent eventually confirmed his client's deal with the Packers.
"You've seen the history of tight ends who have been successful in this offense in the past," Cook said on a conference call Tuesday, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. "Want to build a rapport with the QB."
Joining the Packers certainly seems like the best opportunity to succeed of his career. The most obvious reason for that is the presence of Rodgers, who's capable of helping average pass-catchers play at a high level.
At the league meetings, head coach Mike McCarthy discussed the positive vibes coming out of his talks with Cook, as relayed by Weston Hodkiewicz of Packers News.
"I spent a lot of time with [Cook], and he's a fine, fine young man," McCarthy said. "I was impressed with him. So we'll see what happens."
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Cook also brings a new dynamic to the Green Bay offense. Last year, the team relied on Richard Rodgers at tight end. He's a solid red-zone target, as his eight touchdowns in 2015 illustrate, but the team's newest addition should do a better job of stretching the field.
Cook compared himself to former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, saying "you can see some comparisons in our games," per Demovsky.
Rodgers will probably remain the starter, at least to begin the campaign, but the tight ends should split time based on the package and game situation.
Cook has long been pegged as a potential breakout candidate thanks to his intriguing combination of size (6'5", 244 lbs) and athleticism. But he is approaching age 30, and those predictions never came to fruition during stints with the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams.
The South Carolina product finished last season with just 39 catches for 481 yards and no touchdowns for the Rams, who let him go shortly after the campaign as part of a salary-cap purge. His best season came in 2013, when he posted mediocre totals of 51 catches and five touchdowns.
Evan Silva of Rotoworld further highlighted the tight end's inability to make a major impact:
Evan Silva @evansilva
#Rams TE Jared Cook stands 6'5/246. He's gone 19 straight games without a touchdown. PFF charged Cook with 10 drops in '15, most among TEs.1/6/2016, 6:05:10 PM
His name popped up in the rumor mill ahead of last season's trade deadline in November. Although he didn't end up getting moved, Cook was asked about the situation and explained that his role within the offense contributed to the lackluster numbers, as noted by the Associated Press (via USA Today).
"They're using me how they need me right now," Cook said. "I just sit in the holster and wait until they're ready to use me. I'm like a soldier, and you do what they ask you to do. So yeah, I'm blocking more. It's part of the game. It's just how the season's gone."
That's certainly a viable reason for not catching more passes. But after seven seasons in the NFL, he's never proved he can be more than a complementary member of the offense. He hasn't established himself as a go-to threat despite those aforementioned physical gifts.
Getting another fresh start could provide the boost he needs. Perhaps Green Bay will give him a little more freedom in terms of becoming more of a receiver, especially in the red zone, instead of leaning on him to block.
Ultimately, the success of the Cook signing will likely depend on expectations. He can be a solid secondary contributor on offense. But if the hype train starts picking up steam again, there will probably be disappointment similar to his time with the Titans and Rams.
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