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Cory's Corner: What is Aaron Rodgers' worth to receivers?

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Cory's Corner: What is Aaron Rodgers' worth to receivers?

So Jared Cook and the Packers aren’t close yet in contract negotiations.

And it got me thinking: How much is Aaron Rodgers worth to receivers? If anyone can understand that better than anyone on the Packers, it’s Cook. Remember, before he got to Green Bay, he bounced between dreadfully mediocre teams Tennessee and St. Louis. His best quarterback in seven years was none other than Matt Hasselbeck.

Things started slow for Cook last season because of a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Week 3. By Week 11, he tallied his first 100-yard receiving game since Sept. 8, 2013.

It’s obvious why the Packers should be rightfully making Cook their No. 1 free agent priority. They were 8-2 when Cook played and 2-4 when he didn’t. Cook added an average of four points a game because things opened up on the outside for Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb.

Cook’s value according to spotrac.com is $3.4 million per year on a four-year deal. I think that Cook is worth as much as $5 million a season. That’s how important dynamic tight ends are worth in this league.

But receivers are some of the most dependant athletes in professional sports. For example, how good would Jerry Rice have been if Ken O’Brien was chucking him passes? The passer-receiver relationship is built on timing, chemistry and trust. Receivers have to understand a quarterback’s nonverbals and they must develop an awareness of where to be when he gets in trouble.

Cook sealed his fate as a Packer when he made the unthinkable 35-yard toe-tapping snag in the NFC Divisional Playoff. One play later, Mason Crosby booted a 51 yarder for the game winner.

But does it behoove him to just take market value knowing that he likely won’t get a chance to play with someone of Rodgers’ caliber again? Or does the soon-to-be 30-year-old cash in because this will be his last chance at a payday?

I think it really comes down to what kind of a person he is. Look at Greg Jennings. His career arc was leaning towards becoming a Hall of Fame candidate when he was in Green Bay. He averaged 76 yards and .62 touchdowns a game in the 86 games he started as a Packer. But not long after he left Green Bay his selfishness began to pop up in Minnesota. 

The offense was missing that extra something in 2015 and last year it showed up. Cook can get downfield and has soft hands to make catches at amazing angles.

But none of that really matters if Cook is only concerned about cashing in. Because if that’s the case, No. 1 priority or not, the Packers have a number and won’t go much higher than that, if at all.

If Cook wants a legitimate chance to win on a team with one of the best passers ever, then he stays put. He could put incentives into his contract and with Rodgers as his quarterback, getting 800 yards receiving and six touchdowns are both attainable — and both would be career highs.

Either way, Cook is going to be a happy man. He just needs to figure out to what extent Rodgers makes him happy. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

cuervo's picture

That's the question...is Cook Greg Jennings or not?

FYI-- The Packers didn't opt to not keep Jennings, they gave him a substantial contract offer, which he turned down because he thought he could get more, and he ended up signing for less with the Vikes. GB wanted to keep him...and he was an idiot.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, I think we are panicking a little. Let Cook taste FA again. I think there will be some team willing to pay him 5 or more mil per season. But who will be his QB? Another 16 game season?
I think Packers have more choices. I like Cook, but I do not like cook, especially not overpriced cook...

RCPackerFan's picture

I understand Cook wanting to make as much money as possible. Players careers are short and have a limited amount of time to make as much money as possible.

The question for Cook really comes down to, does he want to take less money to play with a Great QB or make more money to play with a lesser QB.

The truth is Rodgers makes players better. Jennings is a perfect example of that. Another is James Jones. Cook had one of his best seasons ever as a player. Its not a coincidence that it was with Rodgers as the QB.

Nick Perry's picture

Not only did Rodgers make Cook a better TE, but Cook made Rodgers a better QB too, at least statistically AND more importantly in the win column as Cory pointed out. Would the Packers have "Run the Table" without Cook? Doubtful.

In six games without Cook Rodgers had 15 touchdowns but had six of his seven interceptions and a QB rating of 92.3.
In 11 games with Cook Rodgers had 29 touchdowns and just one pick. Rodgers QB rating was 115.1 with Cook on the field.

I'd like to see Cook back in GB. Many of us wished he signed a 2 year deal last season for this very reason. Rodgers showed MM and TT again what he can do when he has a big, fast TE in the offense, win and make everybody better. I think a deal is done soon.

Tarynfor12's picture

Cook, in no way, statistically or any other made Rodgers better. He made play calling better or more diverse via easing coverage on the WR's, which any tight end can do if he can run routes with any speed. Unlike the slug known also as Rodgers. Let's give Cook some props but keep it to a level of reality as Cook made no QB better in his career much less Rodgers to any degree.

Tarynfor12's picture

For those who disliked.....
In order for Cook to have made Rodgers better, he would of had to enable Rodgers to do something he hasn't already achieved statistically or any other....Cook has done no such thing. He did, as I noted, make it easier on the WR ' S and use of other plays, but no way made Rodgers a better QB.
Same as with Finley.

Nick Perry's picture

FYI...I think I said that in my comment when I said he makes EVERYBODY better. Cook opening things up for everyone else is pretty obvious, but looking at the difference statistically and wins on the field you can't deny it. Cook made Rodgers AND everybody better.

It was 80 degrees with BLUE skies yesterday in Los Angeles. My guess is you'd say the skies weren't blue since I said it.

Tarynfor12's picture

Helping to do something that has been done often again would warrant the word easier and only achieving that which you haven't done would warrant the words made better.
Easier does not equate to better.
Circumstance made things already achieved multiple times by Rodgers harder and Cook made it easier to achieve again but he didn't make Rodgers better than he ever was...there is a difference especially when spoken as to being a player and his ability.

dobber's picture

Who's on first? ;)

dnicholson's picture

Nah, Cook actually did make Rodgers better. Statistically and otherwise.

In the 13 games (playoffs included) that Rodgers had Cook available, he threw for 3,639 of his 5,432 total yards. His TD/INT ratio with Cook was 34:3.

Cook had more receiving yards in three playoff games than Richard Rodgers had in 16 regular season games.

To deny Cook's impact, and to blame him for the crappy QBs he's previously played for, is to be obstinate.

dobber's picture

"I'd like to see Cook back in GB. Many of us wished he signed a 2 year deal last season for this very reason."

Yes, but this was the gamble he was taking and it's likely to pay off. He wanted only one year so he could be back on the market before he turned 30. Is it about the money or about playing for a title? I guess we'll see...

Bert's picture

We shall see but Cook may get both the money AND the chance to compete for a SB. I'm sure there are number of playoff quality teams, Packers included, who could use a TE like Cook and are willing to pay him some nice $$$$. I don't think it necessarily comes down to choice between Cook taking less to play in GB or taking more and play for a shitty team.

Tarynfor12's picture

Based on what receivers get from Rodgers to enhance their careers....at least 2 million a year of what they earn is because of Rodgers. ..more for others.

PatrickGB's picture

I agree Nick. Two way street. I cannot blame players for wanting a good payday. Often its the only chance they get. Yet after the houses and cars are bought, what does a player have to remind him of his career if he has been on crappy teams the whole time?
We need them and they need us.

Handsback's picture

I hope he's back, but you have to know TT is going to draft another TE this year.

ricky's picture

Cook has made it clear he was tired of playing meaningless games at the end of every season. He has also indicated he likes everything about the Packer experience, and wants to stay a Packer. Jennings on the other hand became a legend in his own mind, and, personally, I think he wanted to probe he wasn't simply a product of Rodgers; greatness. That he was, instead, a transcendent WR. Then he went to Minny and played with sub-par QB's, badmouthed AR, and ended up at the end of the first meeting between the two teams (apparently) apologizing to a stone faced Rodgers. I expect Cook to re-sign for a good, but not spectacular deal. He could well get; a contract averaging $6 million/year.

slit's picture

This question makes one wonder what this offense would look like with a guy like Julio, AB, or even Mike Evans. Anyone remember what the Brady/Moss combo was able to do? One can dream...

slit's picture

I love Jordy, but you're wrong.

Samson's picture

All Cook has to do is look at the future Packer "D" and then sign with NE. ------- His chances of being in the SB increases dramatically.

The Pack haven't been to a SB in the last six seasons. Fans are bias, players really are not. --------- They actually can follow the money and still win.

marpag1's picture

I think I would say that people are seeing a little bit too much "cause and effect" here... "ARod went into a funk because Cook was gone; ARod snapped out of it because Cook came back."

I certainly won't deny - in fact, I don't think anyone plausibly can deny - that better players on the field will lead to better production. But ARod's early-season funk exhibited itself in some ways that are difficult to explain by the simple absence of one player. His accuracy was clearly off, his velocity was not always up to snuff, his footwork and mechanics were in the crapper for a while... it's hard to think that all of this was due simply to Cook's absence. Sure, injuries have a way of knocking team chemistry out of whack, but I think I'd have to say that one big reason for ARod's underperformance was ARod himself.

Having said that, I'm all in favor of giving ARod as many weapons as we can, and Cook is probably the best, most realistic option at TE.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agree completely. Well thought out and stated. Corey writes:

"Cook added an average of four points a game because things opened up on the outside for Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb."

The stat is stated as a fact with lots of opinion included. The stat is that when Cook was active, the packers scored on average 4 points more than when he was inactive. The causation is a maybe. Or maybe Nelson got stronger further removed from his injury and the light turned on for Adams around mid-season, or something changed within AR or the play calling.

That all said, my opinion is that Cook improves the offensive capabilities of the team.

Bert's picture

I am convinced that Cook improved the offense. No doubt about it, he's a major upgrade over Rich Rogers, Perillo and whoever else we parade out there. Bottom line is he is a good player and someone will pay him accordingly whether it's GB or elsewhere. Losing Cook will just create other hole to fill for 2017.

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