NFL Free Agency begins a week from today on Tuesday, March 12. Among the positions that the Chicago Bears will look to improve upon this off-season are the tight end position, wide receiver position, and offensive line positions. On Monday, one tight end became available that will draw the interest of the Chicago Bears and a handful of other teams around the National Football League.
That tight end is Jared Cook. The expectation was that the Tennessee Titans would place the franchise tag on Cook, though Monday’s deadline for teams to place franchise tags on players eligible for free agency passed with Cook receiving no such designation. That means that Cook will become an unrestricted free agent when free agency begins on March 12. Cook, who has experience lining up in the slot position, is the best available tight end.
With Titans last season, Cook compiled 523 yards on 44 receptions while also scoring four touchdowns. Off the field, Cook was the Titan’s 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Cook represents a significant upgrade over current Bears’ tight end Kellen Davis. Davis’ 2012 season with the Bears was highly criticized as a result of the high number of drops and ineffectiveness as a tight end. Davis registered 19 receptions during the 2012 season for a total of 229 yards and 2 touchdowns. There have been rumblings that the Bears will cut Davis at some point this season, and that my depend upon whether or not the team can find a suitable replacement.
Cook will certainly be a more than suitable replacement to Davis, but given his expected market, the Bears may be forced to look at a second-tier option if they were to upgrade their tight end position through free agency. It’s also possible that the Bears could look to improve the position through the draft. If so, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz may be two logical options for the Bears in the first round.