The Los Angeles Chargers have found their replacement for Hunter Henry, signing two-time Pro Bowl selection Jared Cook to become the team’s tight end for the 2021 NFL season.
After Los Angeles declined to apply the franchise tag to Henry, allowing him to leave for the New England Patriots. Los Angeles explored the market for its next starter. With the Eagles’ high asking price for Zach Ertz preventing a trade, the Chargers found their solution on the free-agent market.
NFL rumors: Jared Cook signs with Los Angeles Chargers
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chargers and Cook have agreed to a one-year contract that could be worth up to $6 million if he reaches certain incentives.
Cook was one of the top weapons in an explosive offense for the New Orleans Saints. However, due to the shrinking NFL salary cap, he was among the club’s cap casualties.
A Pro Bowl selection in the 2018 and ’19 seasons, the 6-foot-5 tight end has bounced around the league. After being drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 89 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Cook has played for the Titans, St. Louis Rams (2013-’15), Green Bay Packers (2016), Oakland Raiders (2017-’18) and Saints (2019-’20).
In two seasons with the Saints, he caught 80-of-125 receptions for 1,209 receiving yards, 16 touchdowns and averaged 15.1 yards per catch. Not only does he offer the size to make him a great red-zone threat, but his athleticism makes him a mismatch against linebackers in coverage.
Cook is exclusively a receiving weapon, but the Chargers don’t need him to help protect Justin Herbert. Instead, he’ll be a go-to target in the end zone and will likely settle in as a solid complementary option when Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler are covered.