Chargers' Updated Depth Chart, 2021 Salary Cap After Jared Cook Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook (87) tosses the ball during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers appear to have found their replacement for Hunter Henry.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Chargers agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract with Jared Cook. The move comes two days after Schefter reported Henry agreed to a contract with the New England Patriots.

Spotrac projects Los Angeles to have $33.2 million in salary-cap space prior to the Cook signing, so the team almost assuredly isn't done this offseason.

Here's how the Chargers offense looks with the 33-year-old tight end:

  • QB: Justin Herbert, Easton Stick
  • RB: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelly, Darius Bradwell, Kalen Ballage
  • FB: Gabe Nabers 
  • WR: Keenan Allen, Jalen Guyton, KJ Hill, John Hurst
  • WR: Mike Williams, Tyron Johnson, Joe Reed, Jason Moore
  • TE: Jared Cook*, Stephen Anderson, Donald Parham, Matt Sokol, Virgil Green 
  • LT: Trey Pipkins, Sam Tevi, Cole Toner
  • LG: Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp, Tyree St. Louis, Nathan Gilliam
  • C: Corey Linsley, Scott Quessenberry
  • RG: Matt Feiler, Scott Quessenberry
  • RT: Bryan Bulaga, Storm Norton, Tyree St. Louis, Ryan Hunter

Depth chart via OurLads 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Chargers reached out to the Philadelphia Eagles about a trade for Zach Ertz before pivoting to Cook:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From Free Agency Frenzy: The #Chargers were a possible trade partner for #Eagles TE Zach Ertz, but they just agreed to terms with TE Jared Cook, as the 34-year-old gets $6M on a 1-year deal. https://t.co/IEkb7eI5S8

All things considered, landing Cook is a solid move for L.A.

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

I think I would rather have Jared Cook for one year and $4.5 million than Hunter Henry for two years and $26.9 million.

A two-time Pro Bowler, he has averaged 42 receptions, 556 yards and a little more than three touchdowns per year since entering the NFL in 2009.

While Cook doesn't have the same kind of ceiling as Henry as a pass-catcher, the gap between the two isn't sizable. He should quickly emerge as a steady target for second-year quarterback Justin Herbert.

The Chargers ranked sixth in passing yards (270.6 per game) and figure to once again have a dynamic aerial attack despite Henry's departure. Keenan Allen is coming off his fourth straight Pro Bowl, and Mike Williams remained a good secondary option after eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards in 2019.

Throw Cook in the mix and Herbert should continue developing nicely in 2021.