Packers dip into free agency to sign TE Jared Cook

March 29, 2016

                

In this Jan. 3, 2016, file photo, St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook warms up before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif. The Green Bay Packers made a surprise move into free-agency by signing Cook on Monday, March 28, 2016.

The Green Bay Packers made a surprise move into free-agency by signing tight end Jared Cook on Monday.

The Packers rarely dip into the free-agent market, making the deal a significant one for a team with a history of building through the draft and hanging onto its players.

A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press the agreement is for one year and worth up to $3.65 million. The person requested anonymity because terms of the contract have not been announced.

The signing was announced by Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

Cook is 6-foot-5 and 254 pounds. He spent the past three seasons with the Rams, and could give the Packers the big tight end they've lacked since Jermichael Finley's career ended with a neck injury during the 2013 season.

Last season, Cook caught 39 passes for 481 yards, with his 12.3-yard average among the leaders at the position. In seven seasons, Cook has averaged 12.8 yards per catch. In his first two seasons, returning Packers tight end Richard Rodgers has averaged 9.4 yards per catch, including 8.8 when he caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

Cook was released by the Rams on Feb. 19 in a cost-cutting move to get rid of the final two seasons of a five-year, $35.1 million deal he signed in 2013. He took a free-agent visit to Green Bay on March 14.

"I spent a lot of time with Jared Cook and he's a fine, fine young man," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said last week at the NFL annual meetings. "I was impressed with him. So we'll see what happens."

For his career, Cook has caught 273 passes for 3,503 yards and 16 touchdowns. He played in all 48 regular-season games during his three years in St. Louis and has missed just five games in his career.

Last year, the Packers were the only team who did not sign a free agent from another team. This year, Cook is the Packers' first signing of a player who played for another team last season. On March 14, they did sign defensive end Ray Drew, who spent four weeks on Cleveland's practice squad last year.

 
























 

Associated Press