During Mike McCarthy’s press conference on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Green Bay Packers head coach seemed to imply that tight end Jared Cook would return for 2017. He was excited about Cook’s progress in his first year in Green Bay, and said that he was looking forward to working with him again.
Cook had a good season in 2016 on a one-year contract, making a big impact down the stretch for the Packers. With just two tight ends under contract for 2017 — Richard Rodgers and Beau Sandland — it is logical to expect the Packers to make a serious run at bringing Cook back.
Early on, however, we have a report that suggests that it won’t be as easy as advertised:
#Packers are talking to TE Jared Cook about returning. Not much progress. Packers are being frugal, so far.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) March 5, 2017
Now keep in mind that it’s early on in the process. The legal tampering period, in which teams and agents can begin discussing contract terms, begins on Tuesday. Then on Thursday, the new league year begins and players will begin to sign their contracts. There’s plenty of time for the two sides to come together on the money aspect.
In addition, this could be a function of Cook’s agents overestimating his market outside of Green Bay. If they begin making calls on Tuesday and find that other teams would offer similar money to the Packers, it would come as no surprise if he ends up coming back.
Meanwhile, the Packers still have several other free agents that they need to work on, and offering up more than market value for one at this point would hamper their ability to re-sign others. With names like Nick Perry and T.J. Lang expected to earn big money and other mid-tier players like JC Tretter, Micah Hyde, and Eddie Lacy needing to be considered, this should not be taken as a knock on the Packers.
Stay tuned for more updates on Cook and the other free agents.