Today, the Tennessee Titans finalized a five-year, $43-million extension with cornerback Jason McCourty, locking down one of their most important defensive players through 2017.
With McCourty’s contract now off the docket, the Titans are likely to turn their attention towards tight end Jared Cook.
Coming off of a breakout 2011 season, Cook is quickly making a name for himself as one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. And especially since the Titans are putting an emphasis on securing their young talent, Cook is the next logical option for an extension.
Originally drafted out of South Carolina, Cook has shown vast improvement over his three years as the Titans’ top receiving tight end. Not only have his pass-catching skills developed well, but his abilities as a blocker have also undergone noticeable progress.
Throughout his three-year career, Cook has amassed 87 receptions for 1,194 yards and four touchdowns. He’s coming off of his best season, during which he hauled in 49 passes for 759 yards (15.5 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.
With second-year quarterback Jake Locker recently taking the reins as the Titans’ starter, the youngster is going to need all of the receiving talent he can get. And with starting wide receiver Kenny Britt constantly dealing with off-field issues, nailing down Cook long-term will provide some consistency for the budding passer.
Cook still has plenty more room to grow as a well-rounded tight end. Assuming that he can continue his exponential growth in 2012, it’ll be well worth it for the Titans to keep him in Tennessee for at least the next several years of his NFL career.