Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Packers Make A Move In Free Agency: Sign TE Jared Cook

I was just writing about the Green Bay Packers' underwhelming 2016 free agent period and they go out and sign TE Jared Cook to a one-year deal that worth $3.6 million only if he reaches certain incentives. While I'm still disappointed they didn't re-sign WR James Jones, Cook brings an element to the offense that's been missing since TE Jermichael Finley retired.
The deep ball down the seam is one thing, but he'll be a difficult match-up in the middle of the field because he's too big for slot cornerbacks and too quick for most linebackers. He's been a disappointment with both the Titans and Rams over the last several seasons, but he's still under 30 and he's never played alongside a good NFL quarterback. Arguably the best QB he's ever played with was Matt Hasselbeck in 2011. Now he'll get a one-year prove-it contract while catching passes from a two-time MVP. There's nothing but upside for both the team and player.

And once again GM Ted Thompson shows the NFL how free agency is done. It's crazy that teams can't first meet with players signed right at the start of free agency. The Packers waited out the initial frenzy and then scheduled a visit with Cook to get to know a player, which was a very good idea because Cook's underperformed in the past and they probably didn't know what he'd be like in the locker room. They gave him a couple weeks to figure out his options and let him discover that the Packers were his best choice, and they acquire a player at a fraction of the price that a similar player (TE Coby Fleener) signed for with the Saints.

As a bonus, signing Cook won't cost the Packers any compensatory draft picks because the Rams released Cook and players released by their former teams don't count in the calculation. The Packers had cap room available to sign another player, and they got a younger player with upside on an affordable one-year deal. There's nothing not to like here.

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