Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean first reported Monday that Cook will not get the franchise tag. That comes as a surprise because Cook's agent was gearing up for a fight about Cook's position. The Titans reportedly didn't want to fight the issue through an arbitrator.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that the team will not use the franchise tag on any player this year. The NFL later released an official list with the teams who used their franchise tag, and the Titans were not on it.
Consider this a short-term win for Cook. He gets a chance to hit the open market and pick his new team. Then again, it's fair to wonder how much guaranteed money Cook will get on the open market. He's probably not going to average more than the franchise number for tight ends, but he should wind up with more guaranteed money. Former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, now coach of the St. Louis Rams, could go after Cook.
We'd still take our chances with tight ends Dustin Keller and Fred Davis over Cook, who has struggled with inconsistency as a pro. Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walker also fill out a robust tight end market. Don't rule out a return to Tennessee for Cook, and don't rule out the Titans signing another free agent at the position. They need all the weapons they can get for Jake Locker.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.