10:46am: It’s a done deal, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who tweets that Cook signed his new contract moments ago.
According to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network (Twitter link), the Falcons, Panthers, and Bears also had interest in Cook before he agreed to sign with Green Bay.
8:05am: The Packers are set to become the last team in the NFL to sign a player to a free agent contract in the 2016 league year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports (via Twitter) that tight end Jared Cook is in Green Bay and is expected to sign with the Packers.
Cook visited Green Bay earlier in the free agent period, and was one of the few outside free agents in whom the Packers displayed any interest. According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link), the veteran tight end completed a deal with the club last Thursday, and things are just being formalized today — Cook will sign after taking a physical.
Having spent his last three seasons with the Rams, Cook was released by the team in February, allowing him to hit the open market early. Although he perhaps didn’t live up to his lucrative contract in St. Louis, Cook still posted relatively solid numbers during his three seasons with the club. From 2013 to 2015, he averaged approximately 47 receptions, 595 yards, and three touchdowns per year.
Tight end Richard Rodgers had something of a breakout season for the Packers in 2015, catching 58 balls for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. However, he was used as more of a check-down target rather than a downfield threat. Cook, who will turn 29 next month, gives the club a bit more of a dynamic pass-catching target at the position, something the Packers haven’t really had since they employed Jermichael Finley.
Of course, the Packers aren’t typically very active in free agency, as their lack of activity up until now has shown. When they do explore the market though, GM Ted Thompson and the team’s decision-makers often prefer players who have been released by other clubs, since those free agents don’t count toward the draft compensatory pick formula for the following season. Cook fits that bill.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.