With free agency just around the corner, the Denver Broncos are likely to look at a few of the veteran tight ends entering the market. One such veteran is coming off his first Pro Bowl season in Jared Cook, formerly of the Oakland Raiders.
Weight: 254 lbs
Experience: 11th year
Cook, 31, was a third round pick in 2009 by the Tennessee Titans and has been a fairly reliable pass catching tight end for the four teams he has played for in his 10 seasons averaging over 600 yards receiving and 48 receptions a year in the eight full seasons he has played.
Football Outsiders even pegged Cook as the one free agent the Broncos should aggressive target in free agency.
Denver Broncos: Sign Jared Cook
Jeff Heuerman is both a free agent and not particularly inspiring as a player. Jake Butt tore his ACL for the third time in September, and you have to wonder whether he’ll ever stay healthy. The Broncos could use some value out of their tight end position, especially with Demaryius Thomas gone and Emmanuel Sanders likely following him out of town. New starter Joe Flacco has had success working with tight ends his whole career, from Dennis Pitta and Todd Heap in the past to Benjamin Watson and Mark Andrews in more recent years. It’s a deep class of tight ends in the draft, sure, but why use a draft pick on a tight end when you can hurt a division rival in free agency?
Cook is coming off career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns, as he became Oakland’s leading receiver because of a lack of other options. Cook’s 146 DYAR and 13.8 percent DVOA marked his best performance in FO metrics since his 2011 season in Tennessee, as Cook has historically struggled to turn his obvious athleticism into on-field success. Buying high on the 32-year-old Cook is definitely a bold move, as you’re betting on a guy to repeat a career year. If he’s able to do so, however, he would be a huge get for a passing offense that was stuck in the mud in 2018.
Why this makes sense
Cook is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he snagged 68 catches for 896 yards and six touchdowns for the Raiders. He have four 100+ yards receiving games as well despite playing on a four-win team.
Going after a guy like Cook wouldn’t take the tight end position of the teams draft board, either. This next contract would likely be Cook’s last major starting contract and the Broncos need a veteran starter to bring along their younger tight end talent.
Why it doesn’t make sense
Dollars. One report has Cook in the $8 or $9 million per year range, which would not be the kind of contract the Broncos should offer. A deal for Cook in Denver would make more sense a few million under that range, so it might not work out.
I like the idea of a guy like Jared Cook coming to the Broncos in 2019 to help stabilize a position group that hasn’t had any stability in years. The issue, of course, is money. If Cook’s value is truly above $8 million per year, then I think the Broncos are going to be better suited to keep the tight end position high on their draft board and go that route instead.
Should the Broncos target Jared Cook in free agency?
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