Jared Cook apparently wants out.
The NFL’s trade deadline is tomorrow and the Titans tight end has asked to be traded, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
Wyatt points out that Cook’s played less than 50 percent of the team’s snaps in the last four games, a puzzling number considering how damaging he is when he gets the ball in his hands. He’s tied for second on the team with 28 catches, but his 13.3-yard average is a great number from a tight end.
His contract is up after this season, and in the NFL trades for guys with expiring contracts are rare.
Tennessee GM Ruston Webster is a regular on my Nashville radio show. Friday we asked him about talks for a Cook extension. He said he would rather not discuss it, but did characterize things as “positive.” A few weeks earlier Cook talked to us about his frustrations. He recently reflected on his numbers, here.
Had the Titans won Sunday and gotten to 4-4, perhaps things would be different today. At 3-5 there is far less hope of getting into the playoff mix. I don't get the sense that Cook and coordinator Chris Palmer, whose offense includes a good share of options routes and lets defenses dictate where players go rather than forcing the issue.
Cook’s not always been a reliable route runner. And the Titans’ run struggles have translated into blocking tight end Craig Stevens being on the field more.
Play them both and you’re a two-tight end team, and if you’re a two tight end team you put a dent into the three-wide receiver plans and personnel you have with Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Kendall Wright.
So sure, it can be complicated. But the Titans haven’t sorted it out well.
And it’s produced at least a somewhat disgruntled player.