After not using the franchise tag on Jared Cook, there is a good chance the Tennessee Titans won’t be able to agree on a long term deal with their up & coming tight end, which works just fine for the Chicago Bears, looking to improve especially in that position.
Cook didn’t put up staggering numbers in 2012 – 523 yards on 44 receptions in 13 games, but the Titans feel that he has great potential to improve as a primarily receiving tight end in the future, but didn’t tag him for money reason.
When Cook felt the Titans were looking to franchise him, he was planning to file a grievance that he should be designated as a WR instead of a TE, which means more than $4 million in salary in case of grievance being accepted. The Titans didn’t want to get involved in that kind of battle, and put their eggs in the basket of negotiating a long term deal.
Problem for them? Quite a few teams around the NFL are interested in Cook, including the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs (Interested in everybody, aren’t they) and the Buffalo Bills. Still, the Bears, in desperate need for a tight end, might be the strongest pursuers after his talent.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, the Bears weren’t exactly pleased with the contribution at the position last season. Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth didn’t make life easy for Jay Cutler, who was struggling to find targets to pass to besides Brandon Marshall. Davis was targeted 44 times, but dropped four of those passes, and according to Football Outsiders, he was the fourth worst tight end in the NFL last season among those qualifying for the DOVA measurement. Spaeth himself is what you expect from a blocking tight end – terrible as a receiver.
There is the draft and a couple of other names (Dustin Keller, maybe?) who could be suitable receiving tight ends that should upgrade the situation for the Bears, but if they want the best that’s available, Jared Cook is probably the guy.