The New Orleans Saints announced on Wednesday that they are releasing veteran tight end Jared Cook. This move marks the end of a two-year run for the Pro Bowler. In his two years with the Saints, Cook registered 80 receptions for 1,209 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.
Before his time with the Saints, Cook played for the Titans, Rams, Packers, and Raiders. Cook spent the majority of his 12-year career with the Titans, the team that drafted him in 2009. He is set to enter the 2021-2022 NFL season at 34 years old.
After the Saints released the news about Cook, many fans instantly thought he might be retiring. Cook could choose to hang up his cleats, but if he keeps playing, several teams should be interested in the former South Carolina standout.
1) The Carolina Panthers could sign Jared Cook
The Carolina Panthers received almost nothing from their group of tight ends during the 2020-2021 NFL season. Carolina's tight end group consisted of Ian Thomas, Chris Manhertz, and Colin Thompson. The lack of production from the Carolina Panthers' tight ends is clearly one of the team's major weaknesses.
Carolina Panthers 2020 tight end statistics:
-- Receptions: 27
-- Receiving yards: 204 yards
-- Touchdowns: 2
This offseason, the Panthers could prioritize the position, and Jared Cook could be a solid weapon for coach Matt Rhule.
2) The Buffalo Bills could sign Jared Cook to give Josh Allen another target
The Buffalo Bills have made it clear that they're looking for a tight end this offseason. Adding Jared Cook would give Josh Allen a veteran tight end that has been successful throughout his entire career. Coming off his successful two-year run in New Orleans, Cook could be a key contributor in Buffalo.
Like the Panthers, the Bills' tight ends didn't record remarkable numbers last season. Buffalo's current tight end group consists of Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, Lee Smith, and Reggie Gilliam. Compared to the Panthers, the Bills enjoyed more production from this unit.
Buffalo Bills 2020 Tight End stats:
-- Receptions: 42
-- Receiving yards: 458 yards
-- Touchdowns: 9
Still, Allen would benefit from the addition of the two-time Pro Bowler. Cook could take the Bills' offense to the next level in the competitive AFC.
3) The New England Patriots could sign Jared Cook to retool their offense
The New England Patriots have been in need of a tight end since Rob Gronkowski left. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have thrived when they have an exemplary tight end in their offense. As a result, they could target Jared Cook this offseason.
Cook is a great pass-catching tight end, and he would bring success and stability to a position group that has been failing miserably for the Patriots.
New England's tight end group consisted of Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, Devin Asiasi, and Dalton Keene in 2020. Combined, the four tight ends did not substantially contribute to the Patriots offense last year.
New England Patriots 2020 Tight End stats:
-- Receptions: 31
-- Receiving yards: 385 yards
-- Touchdowns: 2
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Overall, the Patriots' offensive unit was lackluster this past season, so signing Jared Cook could help the team bounce back in 2021.