The 29-year-old former third-round pick has been a more-than-serviceable pass-catching tight end over the past five seasons despite a rotating cast of misery behind center in both St. Louis and Nashville. Green Bay picked him up for cents on the dollar and, so far, he is earning rave reviews.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been spectacular in almost all of his eight NFL seasons as a starter, but two of his best, 2011 and 2012, seemed to coincide with the prime years of the last dependable tight end the Packers had -- Jermichael Finley. Finley, who was in his age 24 and 25 seasons, caught 116 passes for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns between 2011 and 2012. Richard Rodgers was respectable in 2015 with eight touchdown catches, but did not pose the same type of matchup threat.
Cook might not blast open Green Bay's playbook, but his arrival comes hand in hand with the return of Jordy Nelson and the expected resetting of Green Bay's offense. Now, everyone slides back into their natural place in Rodgers' progressions and there is a dynamic tight end adding some mismatch potential off the line.
Rodgers, who threw 31 touchdowns to just eight picks a year ago, is ready for that first number to go up by 10 or so again. Cook is a step in the right direction toward making it happen.