As one of the highest priced acquisition in this past offseason’s free agency period, tight end Jared Cook figures to have plenty of pressure on him in 2013. The St. Louis Rams spent some big money on the offensive side of the football this offseason, and Cook is the most expensive new toy that quarterback Sam Bradford will have to work with in the coming season.
Head Coach Jeff Fisher is plenty familiar with Cook from his days with the Tennessee Titans as well which certainly played a part in the Rams signing him via free agency. In regard to his transition from the Titans to the Rams, Cook told Joe Lyons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“That offense really didn’t suit me. It didn’t fit me. That’s just how it is. Every team a player goes to, the fit is not perfect. Some guys have to move around to two or three teams before they find the perfect fit. I think I’m on an elevator going up.”
Clearly the Rams’ investment in Cook to the tune of five years, $35.1 million speaks to that point. General Manager Les Snead believes that the arrow is pointing skyward for the 26 year-old pass catching tight end as well, and that will mean lofty expectations for the upcoming year.
The competition at the tight end spot should be interesting to watch during training camp in St. Louis. Lance Kendricks will be entering his critical third season with the club after being a second round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. He has the athletic ability to excel in the wide open attack that the Rams figure to have this season, but he just hasn’t put it all together yet on the field.
Some could see the signing of Cook as a warning to Kendricks to start producing or this may be the end of your time in St. Louis. It could actually be quite the opposite as the Rams have done quite a bit this offseason to mold their offense after the New England Patriots. A two tight end set with Kendricks and Cook could easily mirror that of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski with the Pats in the coming season. Add in the draft selection of Tavon Austin to warrant some double coverage and that will give the underneath duo some extra space to work with.
For Cook, adjusting to life with Bradford under center should be much more favorable than the erratic Jake Locker from his days in Tennessee. With a little more consistency from the quarterback position, his 44 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns from a year ago could easily blossom into 60 grabs for 800 yards and eight scores in 2013.