Jared Cook has formally requested that the Tennessee Titans trade him prior to the newly pushed back 2012 NFL Trade Deadline, which is now scheduled for Thursday. The third year tight end out of the University of South Carolina is unhappy about what he perceives is a lack of playing time, and would like the Titans to trade him within the next few days.
Unfortunately for Cook, however, any such deal appears unlikely to happen.
Cook appeared poised to take that next big step forward in 2012, as many felt that his role would expand with Jake Locker under center in what was expected to be his first full season as the Titans’ starting quarterback. That experiment has not gone well, with Locker getting hurt and still being a week or two away from being able to return. Of course, the Titans will have a decision to make, as Matt Hasselbeck has performed well in his absence.
But truth be told, whichever quarterback is under center has not really gotten the ball to Cook this season. Part of it has been from a lack of trying. Part of it is because he hasn’t been on the field enough to find.
Cook has been on the field for less than half of Tennessee’s offensive plays this season. For a tight end who the Titans felt was good enough to help them offensively in the passing game, that is a surprisingly alarming number. It is not as if this team has an embarrassment of riches on offense, especially through the air. Whether it has been due to injuries, youth, inexperience or ineffectiveness, the Titans are not exactly the most explosive passing offense in the NFL this season.
Still, if you listen to Titans’ head coach Mike Munchak, Cook is unlikely to be traded anywhere before the deadline on Thursday.
According to the Tennesseean’s Jim Wyatt, Munchak said that Cook is still a big part of the team’s plans, at least for the rest of this season.
“I am not going to comment on that. That is not my decision to make, but I don’t see that happening, no,” Munchak said. “I don’t see why we would do that. I don’t follow that. The agent is calling to stir the pot. This is not the time for those things. Jared is a big part of our team. Jared has made a lot of great catches for us this year. Jared’s our [third] leading receiver. We know for us to win games we need him making plays for us, so for me it’s not something I’ve thought about at all, so I am hoping it is not on his mind either.”
But it is on Cook’s mind. He is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he is making just $615,000 in 2012, meaning he would be a an attractive option for teams in need of a tight end if the Titans do decide to at least entertain offers for the former Gamecock. If they have no desire or little chance at convincing him to return past 2012, it would be in the best interest of the Titans to trade Cook now.
For teams who be use Cook’s services, you have to consider that many teams already have a couple of them who can either pass and run block, catch, or do both. The New England Patriots love to stockpile tight ends, so you could never rule them out, depending on the price. The Washington Redskins lost Fred Davis for the year, but they have Logan Paulson and brought back Chris Cooley. Other teams have seen their tight ends in and out of the lineup due to injuries, including the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, but nether would be a likely candidate to acquire Cook. The St. Louis Rams could always make a pitch, but Cook may be staying put in Tennessee for more than one reason by the time the 2012 NFL trade deadline passes on Thursday afternoon.