Chargers Free Agency

LA Chargers: Pros and cons of the Jared Cook signing

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 25: Jared Cook #87 of the New Orleans Saints reacts against the Carolina Panthers during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 25: Jared Cook #87 of the New Orleans Saints reacts against the Carolina Panthers during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Con: Jared Cook’s age relative to other options

Compared to what the other Chargers’ 2021 tight end options could’ve been, Cook is older. Henry will be 27 next season while Ertz will be 31. Cook will enter the 2021 season at 34 years old.

I’m not quite as against the idea of an older tight end as our site expert Jason Reed is (he didn’t give him the kindest grade). It is a little concerning that Cook’s snaps and production dropped quite a bit just because the Saints drafted a fourth-round tight end that ended up outplaying him.

A lot of Cook’s peak production in 2020 came in the first half of the season and his snap counts did decline over time. His average snap percentage dropped in the second half of the season to as low as 30% against Denver. Is that simply because the Saints wanted to move on from Cook, or was he simply getting outplayed? In reality, it’s probably a combination of both.

It is worth pointing out that Cook’s peak production has come in the last four years or so as opposed to earlier in his career. He may end up proving that last year was simply a slightly down year for him.

Even in a declined state of production, his final numbers didn’t end up trailing Henry by too much. Cook finished with 504 yards and seven touchdowns. Henry finished with 613 yards and four touchdowns by comparison.

Still, age is a concern if Cook’s numbers do continue to dip a little further than they did in 2020. That could put a lot more pressure on someone like Parham to produce and play more.

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