Having lost tight ends John Carlson and Rob Housler during the offseason, the Cardinals are in the market for a veteran replacement at the position, and the team appears willing to consider a player who hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2012 season. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Cards have spoken to Chris Cooley, and have expressed interest in signing him.
As we learned yesterday, Cooley is contemplating making an NFL comeback after nearly three years away from the game. In nine seasons with Washington from 2004 to 2012, Cooley hauled in a total of 429 receptions – the all-time high for any tight end in franchise history – 4,711 receiving yards, and 33 touchdowns. The former third-round pick made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, catching 66 balls for 786 yards and eight touchdowns, and followed that up in 2008 with another Pro Bowl appearance thanks to his 83 catches and 849 yards.
When he suggested he may try to catch on with an NFL team this year, Cooley stated that he “could be anybody’s third tight end,” though it sounds like the Cardinals may be looking for a player capable of moving even higher on the depth chart. With Carlson and Housler no longer in the mix, Troy Niklas, Darren Fells, and Ted Bolser are among the players poised to head into training camp vying for playing time for Arizona.
In addition to having expressed interest in Cooley, the Cardinals also recently hosted former Bengal Jermaine Gresham for a visit. Gresham is coming off back surgery, so it’s not clear if Arizona’s interest in Cooley indicates that the Cards weren’t comfortable with Gresham’s physical, or if they’re simply considering all their options at the position.
Cardinals veterans are scheduled to report to camp on July 31, so I’d expect the club to address its tight end spot at some point before then.