By avoiding getting the franchise tag, Jared Cook becomes the premier tight end to be chasing after in the 2013 free agency period, and if the Tennessee Titans won’t be able to agree on a deal with him, there’s a good chance the Cleveland Browns will be more than happy to do it.
With the new coaching tandem of Rob Chudzinski and Nort Turner (Offensive coordinator), the Browns are probably looking to use multiple tight ends in their sets. With only Jordan Cameron (who caught 20 passes for 226 yards) and Brad Smelley (more of a H-back, with only one reception last season) under contract at the position for the Browns, improving at the tight end position is a must in order to install the kind of offense these two want to run, a pass dominant, vertical kind of attack.
Cook, just finished with his fourth year at Nashville, is one of the fastest tight ends in the NFL and despite catching for just 523 yards last season (also missing three games), the Titans and many other teams around the league see tons of offensive potential in Cook, who had a better 2011, with 49 receptions for 759 yards.
The Browns are looking for a couple of tight ends, and there are plenty of lesser options that would still be an upgrade to what they currently have waiting behind Cook – Martellus Bennett, Brandon Myers, Fred Davis, Dustin Keller and Delanie Walker. Picking someone in the draft to develop next to Cook is also an option, but with the Titans giving up on handing him a franchise tag worth $5.9 million a season, Cook is probably looking for a figure that isn’t too far away from that number.
As the Browns are looking for a wide receiver as well to improve their passing game options, going for Cook at that kind of price might mean they’ll have to settle at the wide-out position to get a potentially fantastic tight end.