First of all, ignore the trade ‘demand' related to Jared Cook a few days ago. It ain't happening, and the Titans have no logical reason to want it to happen. Cook is frustrated, and why shouldn't he be: the man was drafted and trained to make big plays, not rack up 3-yard receptions as a safety valve. Yet, here he is for the second year in a row with a QB who can't take consistent advantage of that big play ability, and an OC who can't get Cook involved on the level his talent demands.
So with that in mind, the discussion came up yesterday on 3HL that one big potential stumbling block in possible negotiations with Jared Cook and his agent may boil down to one dispute with serious financial ramifications: is Cook really a pass-catching TE or a WR who blocks better than most? Before you answer too quickly, consider the following:
- (From PFF) Tennessee Titans: Tight end Jared Cook has 342 receiving yards when lined up out wide or in the slot, rather than as an in-line tight end, which is the most for all tight ends. He has done this on 25 catches, and two of them went for touchdowns.
- That means Cook has 3 catches 31 yards when lining up as a true TE
- The 2012 franchise tag for a TE is worth $5.4 million
· The 2012 franchise tag for a WR is worth $9.4 million
- More money is almost always better than less money
What does that all mean? It means we could be in the works for another very contentious negotiation period this offseason. Last year CJ was very adamant about being paid as a ‘playmaker', not just a RB. Cook is one of the more clear-cut examples in the league of a non-Patriots/Saints player who is listed at TE, but has snap-to-snap duties that have nothing in common with 97% of the guys who have ever played that position.
To make matters worse, Kenny Britt's track record really has the Titans bent over a barrel. If Cook and his agent want to play hardball, Reinfeldt and Webester will be in a very precarious position. With Britt being unreliable both on and off the field, and Kendall Wright still learning how to grow from possession guy to full-field threat, Cook is the only big play guy in the passing game. He's also, at this point, the best pass catcher outside of Nate on the team.
I don't know what the final answer will be. Hopefully a contract number is reached that works well for both sides. But, if Cook does walk, the pressure will be red-hot on this front office to trade for or sign a big-time veteran who can be a bigger threat than Cook. Another early-round rookie, or late-round converted DE project isn't going to cut it.
Last week marked the debut of a defensive look many of us expected to see at some point this year, and hopefully for many years to come: Zach Brown being used as the primary complement to McCarthy at the nickel LB spot, while Akeem Ayers got to put his hand on the ground and focus on rushing the passer.
PFF continues to embrace their questionable-at-best O-line metrics, this time by leaving Roos and Stewart both off of their mid-season All-AFC South team. It's pretty stunning, and an indictment of Jerry Gray, that our only players on the list play for one of the league's least-successful defenses: Kamerion Wimbley, Jurrell Casey, Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner. I'll never get over how bad our safeties and LBs are in coverage, considering how lights out our CBs are week in and week out.
I don't care what happened last Sunday, or what former MCM Radio guest Nate Dunlevy writes, this team is good for 7.5 wins at a minimum. Book it.
For the second season in three years, the longest-tenured coach in the NFL could be out of a job after the season ends... and if Reid does indeed get cut loose, that could put Jim Washburn back on the open market. Question is, does he end up in St. Louis, Detroit or Nashville? Washburn has stated in the past that he has no interest in being a defensive coordinator, and he wasn't happy with the ‘way some things were being done' inside the franchise when he left, but the prospect of working for his old buddy Munchak could sweeten the deal for a guy who's probably looking at his final chance to be offered a promotion.