The LA Chargers signed Jared Cook to a one-year deal prior to the 2021 season and it appears as if his tenure with the Bolts may be over. Cook struggled with drops all season and got worse as the season prolonged, which could force the Bolts to look in another direction.
However, the Chargers may still look to add at the tight end position. Donald Parham will come back but has not proven to be an every-down tight end yet. Tre' McKitty has potential, but has only shown thus far that he is a really good blocker. With some cap space to spend, the Chargers may splurge a bit and replace Cook's $4.5 million salary with something slightly higher.
If so, the team certainly has options.
Here are four free agents the LA Chargers could sign to replace Jared Cook:
1. Mo Alie-Cox
We wanted to start with one of the lesser options. If the Chargers feel more confident in McKitty and Parham than we do then they might go for someone who signs for the same, or even less, than Cook signed for last season. Mo Alie-Cox fits that billing as it is hard to see him getting much more than a two-year, $9 million deal in free agency.
Alie-Cox's overall numbers may not be that impressive but he has proven that he can be a reliable red-zone target and would still be a good option in a tight-end rotation. Over the last two seasons, Alie-Cox has caught 55 passes for 710 yards and six touchdowns.
More importantly, Alie-Cox is a pretty decent run blocker as well. He is someone who the Chargers could play in both passing and running downs, which is important considering how much the team utilizes early-down RPOs.
Alie-Cox is a fine, but cheap option. There are certainly better options in free agency.