Packers Could Use Two Cooks In The Kitchen

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy loves tight ends more than Ted Thompson loves players from the Pac-12. Most seasons McCarthy encourages Thompson to carry four on the 53-man roster.

McCarthy, a former tight end at Baker University in Kansas, considers it one of the most important and versatile positions on the team. With these things in mind, it is shocking that the Packers have failed to have a productive duo at the position in McCarthy’s tenure. The days of Mark Chmura and Keith Jackson wreaking havoc on opposing defenses are but a distant memory.

Jared Cook was a major step in revitalizing the position when Thompson signed him last offseason for $2.75 million on a one-year deal. The Packers proved to be a much better squad with Cook in the mix, going 10-3 with him suited up. His production improved as the season progressed and he became comfortable in the system, averaging 67 yards per contest the last 6 games with 2 touchdowns. The pinnacle of his 2016 campaign came on Aaron Rodgers’ 35-yard strike along the sideline in the Divisional Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys to setup a game winning field goal. The throw was ridiculous, but Cook showed he could come up with a big play in a key moment and keep his feet in bounds.

His production and impact on the offense should make him the top offseason priority, Cook added a threat over the middle that the Packers had been lacking in previous seasons. They have not had as stellar of a season from a tight end since Jermichael Finley’s last game in 2013.

Imagine what the Packers offense could do if they had multiple tight ends that put a strain on the opposing defense. It is evident the New England Patriots have had success with dynamic duos at tight end pairing Rob Gronkowski with Martellus Bennett this past offseason. They also had a killer combination of Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez from 2010-2012. The San Diego Chargers had an outstanding combo of Ladarius Green and Antonio Gates. An offensive mind like McCarthy would seemingly get the most out of talent like that and make the offense even more dangerous.

Richard Rodgers’ plodding style will never turn him into a play-making threat. He has the speed and build of a blocking tight end without the performance to back that up. He looked like he would become a red-zone threat with his size and hands, but that disappeared last season. Even his 2015 season posting 510 yards on 58 receptions felt like an aberration. In nearly every facet he seems to be better on paper than he is on the field.

Next to Cook, New England’s Bennett looks to be one of the few productive tight ends available in free agency. Philadelphia’s Trey Burton may prove to be one as well, but he has only had limited action stuck on the depth chart behind Zach Ertz. While Bennett and Cook would provide McCarthy with an excellent combo at the position, it seems unlikely Thompson will be able to sign him with excess needs on the defensive side. It was rumored the Packers were trying to acquire Bennett last year before the Chicago Bears traded him to New England, but who knows how interested Thompson really was. Bennett would provide a viable red-zone threat and blocker opposite of Cook who is an excellent receiving tight end.

It's more likely that Thompson will try to hit on another project type of player in the draft, but it is also possible they already have that player on the roster. Acting quickly once he was available, Green Bay scooped Beau Sandland after his release from Carolina and immediately signed him to a futures contract at season’s end. They acted similarly last season when they grabbed Devon Cajuste from San Francisco, but he suffered an ACL injury on the practice squad making his 2017 season doubtful.

At minimum the Packers need to re-sign Cook, but hopefully they can find their way to a dual threat at tight end making their offense that much more dangerous.

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Comments (14)

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zeke's picture

February 22, 2017 at 05:27 pm

"They also had a killer combination of Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez from 2010-2012."

They certainly did.

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EdsLaces's picture

February 22, 2017 at 05:58 pm

Damnit I was gonna say that!

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holmesmd's picture

February 22, 2017 at 06:00 pm

Lol. I see what you did there;)

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CAG123's picture

February 22, 2017 at 09:23 pm

Richard Rodgers has speed? Man that's one of the slowest, non athletic TEs I've ever seen. He's the master of the falling 2-4 yard catch. I remember him getting smacked up by Kam in 2014 NFC champion game it was totally embarrassing.

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Since'61's picture

February 22, 2017 at 10:13 pm

I doubt that TT will pay the price for Bennett but if he did that would be huge. I'm OK if the Packers draft a TE but preferably one with some speed and decent hands. R. Rodgers can be covered by a nose tackle and is a poor blocker. An OK #3 or 4 TE. Thanks, Since '61

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Brandon Aguirre Valtierra's picture

February 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I wouldn't mind signing Luke Wilson and keeping 4 TE's. Cook + Wilson are 1 and 2, then Rodgers and a developmental TE.

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Chad Lundberg's picture

February 23, 2017 at 12:55 am

Speaking of cooks in the kitchen - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99-n42Xb6NQ

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yooperman's picture

February 23, 2017 at 06:10 am

Why not make Jeff Janis a TE theirs no way he could worse then Cook or Rodgers at blocking, and he has the toughness to play the position, why not give him a chance before spending money on a free agent TE spend the money on defense where the packers need help.

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ShanghaiKid's picture

February 23, 2017 at 09:27 am

For starters the guy is 6'3 and probably between 220-230. How is he going to block, or even chip on a DE/OLB? He can't even learn the nuances of WR. No way a move like that happens. He is what he is at this point, a gunner. And he may, or may not, learn how to run correct routes/adjustments as a WR in the NFL.

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Point-Packer's picture

February 23, 2017 at 11:35 am

Ah, "Jeff Janis delirium". It's ok yooperman, we all get it at some point. Take a Tylenol and get some rest. You'll feel better in a couple of days.

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mnklitzke's picture

February 23, 2017 at 09:53 am

And to think Julius Thomas was just traded for a 7th round pick... I would make that trade all day long... Thomas just needs a real QB like Cook needed...

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pooch's picture

February 23, 2017 at 04:19 pm

yup Ted is a dud

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dobber's picture

February 23, 2017 at 08:40 pm

By all accounts, Thomas is renegotiating his deal with the Dolphins, but I wouldn't want any part of him at his current cap hit.

See: http://overthecap.com/player/julius-thomas/26/

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Da Streetz's picture

February 27, 2017 at 08:26 am

We need db's if we get 2 of the top db's I say then get ur te.

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