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.
GREEN BAY — As Jared Cook considered
his options in free agency, finding a quarterback to get him the
football was first and foremost on his mind.
"It was more than the top priority
I was looking for," the tight end said Tuesday, a day after
signing a one-year free-agent contract with the Packers, whose
quarterback happens to be two-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers. "It
was imperative that I find a person that's known for getting the job
done and is good at what they do. I think that he's one of the best in
the league at doing it, clearly."
While Cook targeted a team with a
proven quarterback, the Packers, who rarely delve into free agency,
targeted Cook to give their quarterback an explosive threat at tight
end. Last season, Richard Rodgers caught 58 passes, one of four tight
ends in franchise history to catch at least 55 in a season. But he
averaged only 8.8 yards per reception.
The 6-foot-5 Cook, who ran his 40-yard
dash in a blazing 4.50 seconds at the 2009 combine, averaged 12.8
yards during his first seven seasons in the NFL — without catching
passes from a QB in Rodgers' class.
The Rams released him in February after
he caught 39 passes for 481 yards and no touchdowns in 2015.
"We had a new quarterback, new
offensive coordinator, a new offensive scheme, a lot of guys trying to
get used to each other in such a short period of time," Cook
said. "It was tough, but those are the things that you have to
deal with in this business. Not everything is going to be rainbows and
Cook, a third-round pick by the
Tennessee Titans in 2009, never lived up to the five-year, $35 million
unrestricted free-agent contract he signed with the Rams in 2013.
However, during those three seasons with the Rams, Cook had three
offensive coordinators and six starting quarterbacks.
Now, he will be playing with an elite
passer, and one of the first people he talked to after agreeing to the
contract was Rodgers.
"I think I was more excited than
he was," Cook said, "just to be able to play with somebody
that's so great at what he does and somebody that's proven."