St. Louis Rams Free Agent Option: Chris Cooley

LANDOVER MD - NOVEMBER 15: Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskin runs onto the field against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 15 2010 at FedExField in Landover Maryland. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Redskins, in a somewhat surprising fashion, released veteran tight end Chris Cooley today. Cooley, who has been one of the most adored Redskins during his 8-year tenure with the team, has had trouble staying healthy over the past three seasons. In 2008, the Skins drafted Fred Davis out of USC, and many thought he might immediately come in and contend for a starting role. Though it's taken a few years, some growing pains, and a suspension, his time to be the true starter at the position has come.

Davis' emergence as the teams new [hands down] starting TE, coupled with the third year TE Logan Paulsen, and Niles Paul - who transitions from the WR position - created quite a crowd at the position. Add it up, and I suppose the writing was on the wall.

Cooley, as aforementioned may very well have been the most popular player on the Redskins over the past five years. He was certainly one of their most reliable targets. On my ride home today, I was fortunate enough to hear a multitude of opinions on the matter. Do his injuries make him too much of a risk, or is he someone you'd like to see the Rams take a shot on?

Year Team G Rec Yds Avg Yds/G Lng TD 20+ 40+ 1st FUM
2011 Washington Redskins 5 8 65 8.1 13.0 17 0 0 0 3 0
2010 Washington Redskins 16 77 849 11.0 53.1 35 3 9 0 40 3
2009 Washington Redskins 7 29 332 11.4 47.4 25 2 1 0 17 1
2008 Washington Redskins 16 83 849 10.2 53.1 28 1 7 0 43 3
2007 Washington Redskins 16 66 786 11.9 49.1 39T 8 10 0 46 1
2006 Washington Redskins 16 57 734 12.9 45.9 66T 6 12 2 33 0
2005 Washington Redskins 16 71 774 10.9 48.4 32 7 6 0 44 3
2004 Washington Redskins 16 37 314 8.5 19.6 31 6 3 0 23 0
TOTAL 108 428 4,703 11.0 43.5 66 33 48 2 249 11

Chris was sidelined - for the year - in 2011 due to a combination of injuries. He suffered a broken finger against the Philadelphia Eagles in October of last year, and was battling complications with his knee. As you can see from the statistics above, the loss of Cooley was a devastating loss [statistically] for their team. And though his touchdowns, which were upwards of eight at the earlier part of his career, seemed to dwindle, he tied his career high in yardage in 2010. Cooley may be hurt, but when Cooley is on the field, he's reliable. He's not the biggest, and he's not the fastest, but his ability to make plays cannot be questioned. His commitment to his team parallels that of his reliable hands. Living in the area, I was able to consistently hear Chris on the local radio, and he always remained positive, even through constant media scrutiny that the team faced…which often didn't apply to football as much as it did to drama.

Cooley turned 30 last month, so he's no spring chicken. His experience - and if healthy, potential - could prove to be very valuable to an extremely young Rams offense. His contract, in my opinion, was probably more an issue than a nagging knee injury. Much like many speculate to be the reason for Jason Smith's departure [amongst other things], Cooley would've accounted for approximately $6mil against the cap this season. For a guy who's been replaced by a younger, healthier guy, and with more of the like to back him up, the Redskins have found a seemingly unpopular way to make some cap space.

Kendricks is a lock. Mulligans is almost a certainty. But if you're willing to give Michael Hoomanawanui another shot, maybe Cooley is an option…but at what cost? You want to give him a go?

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