In a rather surprising turn of events, TE Jared Cook will not be given the franchise tag by the Tennessee Titans following some long negotiations. It looks like Cook will be testing the free agency waters, baring some surprising break through in contract negotiations.
The news also comes along with the notice that the Titans will not in fact be using the tag on anyone this year:
The #Titans are not going to place the franchise tag on TE Jared Cook. No one will be tagged
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) March 4, 2013
It’s unfortunate that the Titans are in this situation. Jared Cook certainly has shown promise on the field but he has yet to have that break through season and just hasn’t posted numbers warranting the ransom he is trying to hold the Titans for, which is undoubtedly a contract resembling a successful receiver’s. Here’s a brief look at Cook’s career numbers thus far, courtesy of ESPN.com:
The Titans had made clear that Cook was an integral part of the team and someone they really wanted to keep around. As of now, they’ve still got time to work out a deal. Teams will be able to start talking numbers with Jared Cook as of midnight this coming Friday, but until then the Titans still will have his attention if they want to try to further negotiate to bring him back.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be happening and once Cook hits free agency, he could be a hot commodity. Many seem to regard him as the best TE looking to enter free agency and perhaps the biggest sleeper.
It’s understandable that the Titans didn’t want to slap him with the franchise tag. There would have been an impending argument over whether Cook should receive a tag as a WR or a TE, a difference of approximately $4 million.
The Titans still have TE’s Craig Stevens and Taylor Thompson, but Thompson is still wet behind the ears and Stevens, while displaying solid hands, has no where near the athleticism that Cook displays.
Looks like we can add something new to the Titans list of offseason needs.
How do you feel about this news? Disappointed? Optimistic? I’m certainly shocked.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart