Cook is signing a one-year contract with the Chargers, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The deal has a maximum value of $6 million, so the cap hit presumably will be less than that. Cook likely will be the passing-down replacement for Hunter Henry, who played 87 percent of the Chargers' offensive snaps in his 14 games last season. Cook wasn't too far from that type of workload in his two seasons with the Raiders (2017-18), but his snap share dipped to 55 percent and then 46 percent in two years for the Saints. He'll turn 34 in April, joining a team that has only Donald Parham and Matt Sokol under contract at tight end. Parham did make a few big plays last season, and there's still more than enough time for the Chargers to add more talent.
The Saints terminated Cook's contract Wednesday, John Hendrix of SI.com reports. Cook was bound for free agency this offseason regardless, so cutting him now simply allows the veteran tight end to immediately begin his search for a new home. The 33-year-old had somewhat of a down year in 2020 with a modest 37 catches for 504 yards -- his lowest totals since 2016 -- but he remained effective in the red zone (seven touchdowns). His departure leaves 2020 third-round pick Adam Trautman as the top option on the depth chart for the time being.
Cook caught five of seven targets for 28 yards in the Saints' 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. His final numbers in the box score were nothing to write home about, but his performance on the field was far more disastrous. Cook was the source of two turnovers in this one, fumbling once and letting one of his seven targets bounce off him for a Tampa Bay interception. Set for free agency this year, it's unclear if Cook will be back in New Orleans, especially given the third-round pick the team spent on Adam Trautman in 2020. If this was indeed Cook's last game as a Saint, he leaves the Big Easy on a sour note.
Cook (back) doesn't carry an injury designation for Sunday's playoff game against the Buccaneers after logging a full practice Friday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Cook was listed as limited Wednesday and Thursday, but his return to a full session Friday paves the way for the Saints' top tight end to handle his usual role in Sunday's divisional-round game. In the team's wild-card win over the Bears last weekend, Cook caught four passes on seven targets for 40 yards.
Cook (back) remained limited Thursday at practice, Amie Just of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Cook showed no sign of any problem in the wild-card win over Chicago, catching four passes for 40 yards on a team-high seven targets. He should be ready for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay, though it's possible the Saints list their top tight end on the Friday injury report.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/12||@Washington Football Team||9||6.47|
|3||09/26||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||9.68|
|4||10/04||Las Vegas Raiders||15||7.13|
|8||10/31||New England Patriots||6||6.13|
|14||12/12||New York Giants||11||6.63|
|15||12/16||Kansas City Chiefs||30||9.68|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||75||49||702||7||35||14.33||112|