The Green Bay Packers are not normally a team that pursues free agents on the open market. Ted Thompson has always been more interested in building through the draft. Every now and then, the Packers make a move, which is exactly what they did this past offseason by signing tight end Jared Cook.
Cook was one of the top tight ends available on the market this offseason, and it was obvious last season that the Packers needed an upgrade at the position.
Richard Rodgers was the Packers’ starting tight end last season. He wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t the target that could be a major threat for Aaron Rodgers. Cook will add a much bigger and more athletic body to the field and will give Green Bay another major threat down the middle of the field.
Last season as a member of the then-St. Louis Rams, Cook caught 39 passes for 481 yards and no touchdowns. It was a rough season for him to say the very least, although the Rams didn’t have a very good quarterback. Nick Foles wasn’t close to the starter that the Rams were hoping they would get, and no other quarterback on the roster was capable of being an NFL starter, either.
At 29-years-old, Cook is viewing his chance with the Packers as a second chance. He was at one point considered to be one of the top up-and-coming offensive weapons in the NFL, but signing with the Rams didn’t work out at all.
Mike McCarthy has to be excited about the new options that will come up in his playbook with Cook on board.
All of that being said, what can the Packers expect from Cook during the 2016 NFL season?
There is no question that he will produce bigger numbers than he did last season with the Rams. Many believe that Cook will have a similar impact to what the Packers saw from the tight end position back in the days when Jermichael Finley was their starter.
Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league, without question. Green Bay will have Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as their top two options, while also having a large group of young receivers to work with. Cook will add a veteran security blanket for Rodgers and will give him a bigger target across the middle than he has had in years.
Cook will likely make the biggest impact this coming season for the Packers in the red zone. There were times last season that the Packers simply didn’t have the target deep in their opponents’ territory to score a touchdown and would have to settle for a field goal.
Opposing defenses will have their hands full trying to cover Cook along with all the other options that the Packers have. He should have mismatches nearly every week for the Packers to take advantage of.
Green Bay usually doesn’t miss on their free agent signings then they decide to. Thompson went out and signed Julius Peppers in free agency, which has worked out very well for the Packers. That doesn’t mean that Cook will pan out for the Packers, but it should give fans hope that he will be a major impact player.
Once again, the Packers will be one of the top teams in the NFC. They are going to have to compete with the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals once again, among others who may rise up. Green Bay may not be the “favorite” to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but they definitely have the talent to get there.
Expect to see Cook step up immediately as a go-to target for Rodgers. He will have a big year for the Packers and will be one of the missing pieces that the team has needed. Green Bay can expect to receive an impact player, and there is a very good chance that Cook will perform close to the top of the NFL when it comes to the tight end position.
What do you expect to see from Jared Cook this season for the Green Bay Packers? Do you think he will be the missing piece for the Packers’ offense? Let us know in the comment box below!
[Photo by AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]