The St. Louis Rams pulled a big fish of their own out of the free agent pond on Tuesday, snapping up former Titans tight end Jared Cook to complement an offense depleted by the loss of a trio of free agents. Les Snead spent handsomely to acquire Cook, giving him a five-year deal worth $35.1 million with $19 million guaranteed, according to Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean.
For comparison, look at the deal the Patriots gave tight end Rob Gronkowski, an eight-year, $55 million contract with only $13 million guaranteed.
For those of you keeping score at home, that's a lot of money, a lot of guaranteed money, especially for a tight end. Cook threatened a fight with the Titans over the nature of his position prior to the franchise tag deadline. The Titans considered tagging him as a tight end, for a one-year cost of $6 million. Cook's agent argued that he should be tagged as a receiver, costing some $10 million.
He had a pretty good argument for it too, since the Titans lined him up out wide on more snaps than they played him in-line.
Clearly the Rams view Cook as a primary offensive weapon, since he signed a receiver-like deal. Just how will the Rams use him in the offense, lined up out wide or working in-line? Cook isn't the physical specimen of most tight ends, and playing in-line isn't the most natural fit for him. He can stretch the hell out of seam with his speed.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has a knack for using tight ends in his offense. During his time in New York Dustin Keller led the team in receptions most years as an able crutch for Mark Sanchez. With Cook and Lance Kendricks, the Rams could be lining up in two-tight end sets for a number of their snaps this year. Cook should be on the field for most of them, especially at that price.