* = starter; + = roster spot
* Jared Cook
+ Richard Rodgers
+ Justin Perillo
There have been many calls over the years for Ted Thompson to be more proactive in using free agency, the vast majority of which fall on deaf ears. He has done more movement in recent seasons than we give him credit for though (Julius Peppers & Letroy Guion were good-to-excellent moves), and he made a move this year as well to shore up one of the weakest spots on the roster by grabbing Cook off the scrap heap.
Cook has been a player never lacking in potential, but consistently falling short on the production end. Despite all his athletic abilities, he’s never been able to put it all together for more than a couple games at a time; he’s topped out at 52 catches (2014), 759 yards (2011), and 5 TDs (2013) while struggling with drops and bad route running, causing him to fall out of favor with his teams’ passing attacks on numerous occasions. There are outside factors involved however; the best quarterback he’s played with is probably a well-past-prime Matt Hasselbeck, and the teams he’s been on to date have been a far cry from stalwart units. With Green Bay, he has the chance to play with possibly the best QB of the past decade and in an offense that routinely ranks as one of the best the league has to offer. Should he manage to delve into his talents and actually produce, Green Bay will have the dynamic TE option they’ve lacked since prime Jermichael Finley.
Behind Cook, Richard Rodgers has shown himself to be an okay option, but nothing close to dynamic; his game-stealing Hail Mary against the Lions aside, he rarely made catches that resulted in more than a short completion, and he went down after first contact in every single instance I remember watching. He isn’t what you want as the main TE, but he can be a nice backup and should work out as a receiver in two-TE sets.
This third spot would have had a ton more competition, but due to injuries and settlements, players like Kennard Backman and Mitchell Henry found themselves out of the running. With those guys unable to make it, the only real choice remaining is Perillo. It helps his case that he has done well this offseason. He’ll never be a dynamic option, but you can do worse in a third TE than a consistent option who will catch whatever comes his way.