We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Jared Cook Gets One-Year Deal From Chargers
Reported deal: One year/$6 million with $4.5 million guaranteed
Even at 34 years old, Jared Cook can bring a ton to the table as a tight end. Cook was the only Saint with more than 10 targets and an average depth of target more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage (11.7), per NFL Next Gen Stats, more than two yards over Michael Thomas (9.6), Tre’Quan Smith (9.5), and Emmanuel Sanders (9.4). He was the Saints’ deep threat at times.
That brings an element to the position that Hunter Henry didn’t this past season. Henry’s work was done mostly with 10 yards of the line of scrimmage (8.3-yard aDOT):
Cook also had success in that area but did more up the intermediate seams.
Last year, Cook finished 10th in EPA among tight ends. At a price that maxes out at $6 million, Cook doesn’t have to be much more than a rotational piece who can also help with the development of Donald Parham. The Chargers were mostly an 11 personnel team last year (71%) but could increase the rate of 12 personnel, where the Chargers averaged 9.2 yards per attempt last season.
Giants Sign Kyle Rudolph To Multi-Year Deal
Reported deal: Two years/up to $14 million
While the Giants were setting up for a meeting with Kenny Golladay, the Giants’ added Kyle Rudolph on a multi-year deal. The 31-year-old (he’ll be 32 in July) was released by the Vikings after he finished the 2020 season on injured reserve with a foot injury and passed by Irv Smith in the pecking order. But over the first 12 games of 2020, he played fewer than 70% of the offensive snaps just twice (62% and 68%).
The Giants now have a crowded tight end room with Rudolph, Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, and Levine Toilolo, who just re-worked his contract to stay on the roster. In 2020, the Giants used the fifth-highest rate of 12 personnel (27%) and the second-highest rate of 13 personnel (10%). Jason Garrett loves him some tight ends.
But it’s still unlikely the Giants keep all four of these players at the position, so the next domino will be interesting to watch. Engram is the most dynamic of the bunch, but his usage and production made him one of the least efficient players in the league last season. Smith is basically a younger and cheaper version of Rudolph and their production last season wasn’t big enough to warrant the difference in salary.
Kyle Rudolph vs Kaden Smith, 2020
|Player||Targets||EPA/Target||Positive Play %||2021-22 AAV|