It’s official. The paperwork has been signed, and the Saints now have Jared Cook to work with at tight end. It’s a signing that I’m lukewarm on.
I understand that Cook had a Pro Bowl season with the Raiders last year, catching 68 passes for 896 yards and 6 TDs. He was especially good at home, where he went over 100 yards in four of the seven games.
But I have never been a big Jared Cook fan. I don’t think he’s good using his size to make contested catches. For example, he’s been in the league for 10 years, and no team has ever been able to effectively get him going in the red zone. He’s not another Jimmy Graham, where they’ll split him out wide at the goal line and let him pull down jump-ball type throws.
And Cook doesn’t block well enough that he’s ever played much as an in-line tight end. When he’s on the field, defenses know that he’s going to split outside and be used as a big wide receiver. That’s what he is.
With much fanfare, the Saints signed a tight end almost identical to Cook three years ago, when Coby Fleener signed a five-year deal worth $36 million. But when they put him on the field, they started figuring out some of his shortcomings. Fleener caught 50 passes and 3 TDs in his first season with the Saints, but he was lightly used the following year and then released.
I would expect Cook will be a Fleener-type guy for them. I expect there will be some matchup dynamic that they’ll exploit in a few games. Cook will probably put up top-10 tight end numbers in a handful of games. But there will be plenty of weeks – more weeks – where he doesn’t have much of a role. And it wouldn’t surprise me if the Saints sour on him pretty quickly.
Cook, by the way, is 31. The two-year deal he signed is reportedly worth $15.5 million, with $8 million guaranteed.
Over the last two years, 27 tight ends have caught at least 50 passes. Cook has the worst drop rate of all of those guys.
Cook definitely won’t be one of the top 5 tight ends on my draftboard this year. I’m not sure he’ll even be in my top 10.
|TIGHT ENDS, DROP RATES (last two years)|