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Green and Bold: Jared Cook Is a Sure Thing

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Green and Bold: Jared Cook Is a Sure Thing

Not many things are for certain when it comes to the Green Bay Packers and the elusive Ted Thompson, but when evaluating the moves the team could make as we approach free agency, re-signing tight end Jared Cook seems like a done deal. 

Cook came into the fold last March on a one-year, $2.75-million contract. It was obvious the veteran, who had never seen the field for a playoff game, was motivated more by the desire to win a ring than money. The same is likely true heading into 2017, as Cook is just a few weeks removed from reaching his first postseason and falling heartbreakingly short of the chance to hoist a Lombardi Trophy. 

It's also obvious the interest in Cook remaining with Green Bay should not be one-sided. Though he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3 that sidelined him until Week 11, it didn't appear to be coincidental that when Cook returned to the field, Aaron Rodgers and the offense got hot. 

Cook's return coincided with Rodgers' "run the table" promise, and he helped the Packers win seven games to close out the regular season. In his Week 11 return alone, Cook exploded for 105 yards on six receptions and a touchdown, averaging a season-high 17.5 yards per reception. 

The effect of a healthy Cook in the Packers offense was immediately obvious. Rodgers relished having an athletic, 6'5" pass-catcher to threaten the seam and move the chains. Green Bay finished the year ranked third in the league in third-down conversion percentage, at 46.12 percent. 

It's become clear that Richard Rodgers isn't going to develop into a bona fide No. 1 tight end for the Packers, especially as he failed to make much of the opportunities he was given in 2016. While Rodgers was generally productive in the end zone in 2015, scoring eight times, he had only two touchdowns last season. 

Meanwhile, not only was Cook able to help the Packers extend drives in the short-to-intermediate game, but he also became an explosive weapon. According to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, over the final seven games of the season Cook ranked No. 3 in the league among tight ends in both catches of more than 25 yards (four) and in yards per catch (13.5). 

Cook hasn't been shy about his feelings toward remaining with Green Bay. If Thompson needs to gauge where Cook and his reps will be coming from in negotiations, Cook put it all out there himself in an article written for The Players' Tribune:

For seven years, I was a guy on the margins — not feeling like I was making much of an impact, and playing for teams that weren’t experiencing a lot of success. Now, I’m playing for the best franchise in the world … for the best fans in the world. And with the greatest quarterback of all time. I know one thing for certain: It has made me cherish every moment.

Sure, it will take a little more than $2.75 million a year to re-sign Cook. Spotrac puts his market value at $3.4 million annually. It seems like perhaps a two-year deal worth $7 million overall could keep Cook, who is clearly most interested in winning a ring, put. 

If Thompson is also interested in winning a ring, he'll do it. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

For me Cook is one of the top signings, Lang and Hyde also.

croatpackfan's picture

This is no brainer... I think they already have the deal.

Handsback's picture

By next year Cook should erase any memories of slow-footed TEs. He's a game changer and Rodgers along with MM know how to use him. Seems like a perfect fit!

Since '61's picture

No reason to make TE a question mark position again.
Sign Cook and move on. Thanks, Since '61

Ryan Graham's picture

Cook is a difference maker on the field, has some injury history from Tennessee and the Former STL Rams but I think he found a home in GB in which he'll go that extra mile for. Consider a 2 ur deal done

dobber's picture

TT must resist the temptation to go cheap here and draft/develop a new TE while letting Cook walk.

Get the developmental TE, sure, but keep the asset that you know elevates your offense now. Maybe you structure that contract such that you can get out after a year if your developmental guy looks good.

Since '61's picture

Dobber - exactly how TE should be approached. Sign Cook, draft a TE to develop behind him. Good post. Thanks, Since '61

Ferrari Driver's picture

I thought the Packers should have gone after Bennett when he became available, but Cook has been a pleasant surprise this past season.

He came to the Packers with a marginal reputation, but his attitude and play on the field this past season has been A+.

Certainly an above average starter in the league and an important player for the Packers GM to ensure he among next years starters.

Point Packer's picture

If Ted doesn't do this, I'm going to blow a gasket. Pay the man.

Razer's picture

"Blow a gasket" - love the phrase. And I'm with you.

Unlike many who are talking a two year deal. Why not try to sign him to a 4 year package. He's listed at 29 years old. That gives us lots of time to draft and develop a TE for future considerations.

dobber's picture

True. With all the needs on this roster, locking him down for 3 years means TE is a luxury pick for a year or two...

Tundraboy's picture

3 is about right.

Point Packer's picture

Big crafty TEs can last well into their 30's and continue to put up solid stats if they stay healthy. Think Antonio Gates, Keith Jackson, Jason Witten. Size don't age. Sign him for four and front end the money.

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