So, lets squash this line of thought right away: with the reality of the way Cook's situation went down, they made the right move. Book it.
Jimmy wisely relayed an exchange that occurred on local radio recently:
"The guys on 3HL here in Nashville were ripping the front office for not getting something for Cook, saying they should have seen the challenge of wide receiver coming..."
Really???11?1?1 Exactly what does that effectively mean?
So we don't play him in the only role in which he's capable of helping your team (and, BTW, much the way he had a career best year in 2011) so that you have negotiating leverage latter on? Or do you meet a player's obstinate demands that they make twice what Al Davis (R.I.P.) would have paid him?
No, that's not it... not at all. You, beautiful MCM readers, know why this happened.
Jared Cook and his agent are smart enough to recognize the market dynamics as they exist: the pass catching TE is a sexy position right now, and it only takes one team to overpay. With this year's uneven TE free agency class, there's no player with a higher ceiling than the Cookie Monster, and there's no doubt that Cook and Co. don't want to keep playing for a team who can't make the most out of his talents.
And so, this too shall pass.
I'd rather the Titans move on than drag this out. Like I said a month ago, the idea of arguing the WR/TE franchise case in front of an independent arbiter is absurdly toxic... especially considering the qualitative numbers he's posted. It's the reason the Packers avoided the same process by overpaying Finley last year with an out for this year, and it‘s what baseball teams have known for a decade now: walking into a lawyer's office with a binder full of reasons the player in question doesn't deserve more money just creates bad blood.
The Titans gave Jared Cook a number, a home, and showed excessive patience in teaching him to block. However, Cook obviously thinks he's a pearl in a two-toned blue shell.
Ruston Webster's job is not to shuck oysters.
I commend Ruston and company for cutting their losses instead of throwing good money after bad money. It's another hole we need to fill, but better that than the salary cap equivalent of Icy Hot in your jock strap.