The New Orleans Saints aren’t getting much production from Jared Cook. That said, should they look into dealing the veteran tight end?
Certainly, no one was too surprised when the Saints selected tight end, Adam Trautman, in the third round out of Dayton. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in New Orleans who believes that Jared Cook is the long-term answer at tight end, the plug to fill the hole left when Jimmy Graham was shown the door.
In fact, when Cook signed on prior to the 2019 season, many thought his experience would help round out a young Saints’ offense, while his age would gradually become more of a hindrance.
As we have seen, however, Cook’s decline looks to be beginning sooner than expected.
The former Packer’s first season in the Big Easy was highly productive. The big-bodied Georgia product quickly became a favorite, reliable target for Drew Brees and helped ease some of the defensive pressure from star wideout Michael Thomas.
Despite the sour finish to the season, number 87 cruised to a respectable 43-reception, nine-touchdown season.
In his second season, however, Cook looks to have hit the next stage in his decline swiftly.
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Though he did catch his first touchdown toss of the season this past season against his former Raiders, the grab was the lone bright spot in what has been a disappointing season thus far for the 33-year-old.
Yeah, yeah, it’s too early to tell what kind of season Cook will be having.
Yes, he did grab five-of-seven targets on his way to 80 yards in the opener against Tampa Bay. But even in that game, he dropped two crucial third-down catches, and that was all before Las Vegas, where Cook only managed two receptions for 13 yards, despite being targeted five times.
The Saints and Sean Payton need to keep Cook’s performance on their radar, and if the former South Carolina standout continues to slow down, looking to unload the tight end via a trade may be their best move.
Luckily for the Saints, Cook’s contract is set to expire at the end of this season, and Adam Trautman, though he only has one reception, looks to have the speed and awareness necessary to keep up in a demanding Drew Brees-led offense.
Letting Cook finish the year, then letting him walk, is more than likely how the Saints will come to part with the old-timer. But trading Cook while his value is still identifiable, especially to beef up an injury-prone defensive or offensive line, might be in the Big Easy’s best interests.
Or, who knows? Maybe after over a decade in the NFL, ole’ Jared Cook’s best days are still ahead of him.