After spending the last two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, veteran tight end Jared Cook will get a fresh start with the Los Angeles Chargers next season. The 34-year-old signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Chargers back when the free agency period first opened this year. Even though he's only had a handful of practices with his new organization, Cook already likes what he sees.
According to NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk, the two-time Pro-Bowler is already hyping up wideouts Mike Williams and Keenan Allen while taking a subtle shot at his former team. In a recent interview, Cook said that the Chargers' group of wide receivers has "better talent here than we had in New Orleans."
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The thing is that Cook has every right to hype up his receiving core. On one hand, Williams finished the 2020 campaign with 756 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, however, he also had a 1,000-yard performance in 2019. On the other, Allen had 992 of his own receiving yards last season, adding 8 TDs along the way. Taking into account how Allen had three straight seasons of 1,100 receiving yards or more before 2020, you can understand what Cook sees in this group.
"Just seeing those guys — Mike [Williams] and Keenan [Allen] — lining up all across the field in different formations, splitting us out in different packages, I definitely think that this offense has what it takes to become a high-powered, prolific offense in the NFL."- Jared Cook, Chargers TE
Meanwhile, Cook has shown that he can be one of the better tight ends in the NFL. He finished last season with 504 yards and 7 touchdowns while being a reliable target for his quarterbacks. Signal-callers targeting Cook in 2020 had a passer rating of 120.4.
That's not to mention how the Chargers' pass-catchers are fortunate enough to have Justin Herbert throwing to them for the foreseeable future. The 23-year-old QB looked phenomenal in his rookie season, ending the year with 4,336 passing yards and 31 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Taking his age into account, it wouldn't be out of the question if Herbert had an even better encore performance in 2021.
Despite Cook's hope for Los Angeles' offense, the Chargers are projected to miss the playoffs at -154 odds, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Still, no odds are guaranteed and the Chargers have enough talent to go on a playoff run. It just depends on whether or not they can meet Cook's expectations.
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