Some veteran tight ends will be available in free agency, with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith leading the way. At 34, Jared Cook doesn’t generate that kind of sizzle, but some teams will want to kick the tires on him.
Cook isn’t what he used to be. Entering his 13th season, he’s lost some speed and athleticism. The Saints are ready to move on to younger players at the position.
But Cook might still have some serviceable ball left in him. He wasn’t a bust in New Orleans. In 29 games there, he caught 80 passes for 1,209 yards and 16 TDs.
Cook is more pass catcher than blocker – better when lined up away from the line of scrimmage. But he has more ability to get downfield than the vast majority of tight ends.
That’s evident in how the Saints used him. They didn’t use him so much of short-range pass plays. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are more usually the featured short-range pass catchers in that offense. With Cook, they’re looking to get him downfield for big plays.
With the Saints, Cook averaged 15.1 yards per catch. That’s 2 yards more than any of the other 35 tight ends who’ve caught at least 50 passes over the last two years.
In free agency, I think Cook will receive the attention of a few teams that are looking for a part-time tight end who can challenge defenses downfield.
|TIGHT ENDS, YARDS PER CATCH (last 2 years)|
|1.||Jared Cook, N.O.||80||1,209||15.1||16|
|2.||Travis Kelce, K.C.||202||2,645||13.1||17|
|3.||Dawson Knox, Buff.||52||676||13.0||5|
|4.||Mark Andrews, Balt.||122||1,553||12.7||17|
|5.||George Kittle, S.F.||133||1,687||12.7||7|
|6.||Mike Gesicki, Mia.||104||1,273||12.2||11|
|7.||Noah Fant, Den.||102||1,235||12.1||6|
|8.||Darren Waller, L.V.||197||2,341||11.9||12|
|9.||Darren Fells, Hou.||55||653||11.9||11|
|10.||Jonnu Smith, Ten.||76||887||11.7||12|
|11.||Jordan Akins, Hou.||73||821||11.2||3|
|12.||Anthony Firkser, Ten.||53||591||11.2||2|
|13.||Tyler Higbee, LAR||113||1,255||11.1||8|
|14.||Robert Tonyan, G.B.||62||686||11.1||12|
|15.||T.J. Hockenson, Det.||99||1,090||11.0||8|
|16.||Hunter Henry, LAC||115||1,265||11.0||9|
|17.||Greg Olsen, Car.-Sea.||76||836||11.0||3|
|18.||Dallas Goedert, Phil.||104||1,131||10.9||8|
|19.||Eric Ebron, Ind.-Pitt.||87||933||10.7||8|
|20.||Hayden Hurst, Bal.-Atl.||86||920||10.7||8|
|21.||Jack Doyle, Ind.||66||699||10.6||7|
|22.||Gerald Everett, LAR||78||825||10.6||4|
|23.||Evan Engram, NYG||107||1,121||10.5||5|
|24.||Kyle Rudolph, Min.||67||701||10.5||7|
|25.||Jimmy Graham, G.B.-Chi.||88||903||10.3||11|
|26.||Irv Smith, Min.||66||676||10.2||7|
|27.||Austin Hooper, Atl.-Cle.||121||1,222||10.1||10|
|28.||Zach Ertz, Phil.||124||1,251||10.1||7|
|29.||Tyler Eifert, Cin.-Jac.||79||785||9.9||5|
|30.||Dalton Schultz, Dall.||64||621||9.7||4|
|31.||Logan Thomas, Det.-Was.||88||843||9.6||7|
|32.||Cameron Brate, T.B.||64||593||9.3||6|
|33.||Jacob Hollister, Sea.||66||558||8.5||6|
|34.||Jason Witten, Dal.-L.V.||76||598||7.9||6|
|35.||Vance McDonald, Pitt.||53||372||7.0||3|