The Green Bay Packers have finally filled their tight end position, as the team reportedly agreed to a deal with free agent Jared Cook.
Cook, who turns 29 on April 7, spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams franchise. He was released in February after making 39 receptions for 481 yards without a touchdown in 2015, setting low marks for his time with the team.
The 2009 third-round pick spent his first four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, emerging as a talented (albeit enigmatic) playmaker. He continued that trend after signing with the Rams, struggling to ascend to stardom despite being given a bigger role. The team cut Cook after three years of diminishing returns rather than eating a cap hit of more than $8 million.
Looking for a veteran fit to shore up their depth chart, the Packers hosted Cook for a visit earlier this month. Head coach Mike McCarthy said the team was impressed but that general manager Ted Thompson would have the final say on whether to bring him into the fold.
"Spent a lot of time with Jared Cook," McCarthy said, per of the Journal Sentinel. "Fine young man. I was impressed with him. We'll see what happens. It's in the business phase of it. That's about where it stands."
Writer Cian Fahey put Cook's signing in context for Packers fans:
If you're unfamiliar Packers fans, Jared Cook is like Davante Adams but he plays tight end.— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) March 28, 2016
It'll be interesting to see how much playing time Cook is guaranteed as part of the deal. Richard Rodgers tied for a team high with eight touchdown receptions last season, catching 58 balls for 510 yards overall. Cook has never made more than 52 receptions in a season, although he's been a more explosive playmaker overall.
Football Outsiders' DVOA metric ranked Rodgers 30th and Cook 44th. In the site's DYAR measurements, Cook was the worst player among 51 qualifiers.
To put it mildly, adding Cook doesn't suddenly fix a weakness on the Packers roster. This will be the first time he'll be playing with an elite quarterback, but the time to realize his immense physical gifts may have passed. Competing with a 24-year-old with more experience in the system likely won't help matters.
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