NFL

NFL AM: Packers Sign Tight End Jared Cook

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Packers ink Jared Cook to one-year deal:

Most NFL tight ends probably dream about playing for a quarterback like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, or play in an offense that features the position as prominently as the New England Patriots or Green Bay Packers do.

For Jared Cook, that dream is about to come true, as the tight end getting ready to enter his eighth NFL season has signed a one-year deal with the Packers.

Cook has had an up and down career that has seen more drops than his former teams the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans would have liked, but the former third-round pick is still a weapon that will have an opportunity to put up career numbers if things work out in Green Bay.

Cook will have to fend off Richard Rodgers if he intends to be the starting tight end, but he’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the football if he can.

The new Packers receiving option has been a good tight end, but he hasn’t developed into the kind of player some thought he would when he entered the league in 2009. Cook has only been his teams’ starting tight end 42 times while playing in 107 NFL games. While the former Titans and Rams tight end had at least three touchdowns between 2011 and 2014, he’s never had more than five in his career, and he didn’t find the end zone once a year ago despite playing in every game, and starting 12 of them.

Cook’s one-year deal could be a blessing for the former third-round pick, as he’ll be a free agent again a season from now at 29. If the veteran tight end can put up career numbers with Rodgers tossing him the rock, he could set himself up for one last multi-year deal heading into 2017.

At the end of the day, this is a nice quiet signing for a Packers team that doesn’t make big splashy moves in the free agency period. This is Cook’s best opportunity, and Rodgers should make him a household name, if not a star. While that sounds a bit outlandish for a tight end who’s already got seven years under his belt, when you consider that Richard Rodgers was second on the team in receptions a year ago, you realize that Cook should see more targets than he’s been used to, oh, and they’ll be coming from a future Hall of Fame quarterback, and that’s something he certainly hasn’t had in Tennessee or St. Louis.

Arian Foster to meet with the Dolphins:

Have you ever had two friends that were so desperate to find love that you figured the two of them should just get together because they probably weren’t going to find anyone else? That might be the Miami Dolphins and Arian Foster at this stage of the free agency game.

The Dolphins swung and missed at trying to add a veteran back when they signed C.J. Anderson to a four-year offer sheet that was matched by the Denver Broncos, and then again when they brought in Chris Johnson who opted to go with the chance to play for a better team and a possible Super Bowl by re-signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

Miami has second-year back Jay Ajayi in the backfield, but it’s clear that Adam Gase and company want more fire power in the backfield by their attempts to add Anderson and Johnson. However, despite the Dolphins clear motivation to add depth to the backfield, and their attempts at signing Johnson and Anderson, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that this visit is more about finding out if they want to sign Foster as opposed to an attempt to get the veteran back to sign on the dotted line.

The Dolphins want an opportunity to get to know Foster, and more importantly get a look at where the 29-year-old back is physically after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in October, ironically, in Miami.

Foster is an intelligent young man, so the getting to know you portion of his visit should go well. If he can show that he’s healthy and could pass a physical right now as Ian Rapoport reported, these two could come together on a short-term deal.

Ole Miss players have pro day:

While you wouldn’t say that any of the Ole Miss players hurt themselves at their pro day on Monday, you probably wouldn’t say they helped themselves much either.

Laremy Tunsil didn’t run a 40-yard dash at his pro day Monday, but there’s little question that the left tackle is one of the best players in the upcoming draft and will go within the first few picks, if not first overall. A hamstring may have kept the big man from running, but he looked very good in the other drills, and confirmed what many thought of him.

Tunsil would have had to have fallen flat on his face to have really hurt his draft stock much at all Monday, and he certainly didn’t do that. It’s difficult to help the draft stock of a guy who has a really good chance of being selected first by Tennessee, so Tunsil walks away from his pro day about where he was walking in.

While some believe that Florida State’s Jaylen Ramsey is the best player in the draft, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says he believes his guy is the only choice.

“I don’t care who you have on your team. I don’t see how you can bypass Laremy Tunsil,” Freeze said. “Protecting your quarterback at the left tackle position is something you want to make sure you can secure, and Laremy is that guy.

“I had one team call and say that only two left tackles [in the NFL] would play in front of him right now, and both started in the Pro Bowl.”

While there seemingly isn’t anyone who doesn’t believe in Tunsil, the same can’t be said for defensive end Robert Nkemdiche who may have gotten baked and jumped or fallen out of a window of an Atlanta hotel in December.

NFL teams obviously have concerns about a kid doing something that dumb in the months before the biggest moment of his life. Note to prospects: Stay out of rooms with weed, but if you’re in a room with weed, don’t be in a position to somehow end up falling or jumping through a window.

“I’ve been honest,” Nkemdiche said at his pro day. “I’ve been straight-forward with teams, and I’ve made it clear that’s not who I am. That’s not anything they have to worry about with me because that’s not my character. That’s not my personality. I’m a positive person. I’m going to be an asset to the team and the community, wherever I end up.”

Nobody knows how the heck this young man ended up below an Atlanta hotel window, or if he was smoking the marijuana found in the room he fell or jumped out of, and it’s entirely possible it’s just another example of a college kid doing college kid things, but Nkemdiche is going to have to show NFL teams that he’s not a knucklehead. Hopefully he was able to do some of that work with teams at his pro day yesterday.

It’s possible that Laquon Treadwell could have hurt his draft stock Monday by running a 4.65 and 4.63 40-yard dash, but it’s unlikely that it effected his draft stock much.

Treadwell isn’t a speed receiver, and teams know that. While being a few ticks faster could certainly help his draft stock, NFL evaluators are smart enough to know a good receiver when they see one. The league has been littered with super-fast mediocre receivers, and very good receivers who have had average to below average speed.

Treadwell’s 40 time certainly didn’t help him, and it’s entirely possible it hurt him a little bit, but you’d hope that teams would know better by now.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.