The Tennessee Titans are not going to use their franchise tag on tight end Jared Cook after all, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. The news comes less-than an hour prior to the 4 p.m. ET deadline to designate a player for the tag on Monday.
Without tagging Cook, it appears the Titans will not use the tag on any player this offseason. Additionally, Wyatt reported that the Titans were not willing to go through a prolonged debate regarding which position Cook would be tagged as.
Cook has been very vocal that he believes he should be designated as a wide receiver under the franchise tag. This would pay him approximately $4.5 million more than he would earn if he were designated as a tight end.
Given that Pro Football Focus suggests Cook took 56 percent of his snaps out of the slot (in addition to whatever snaps he took lined up outside), he would appear to have a solid argument, and the Titans were not interested in fighting through an arbitrator.
Tennessee and Cook have been in contract negotiations for a long term deal for much of the offseason, with talks heating up in recent weeks. However, it was reported earlier on Monday that the team and player were at an "impasse" in contract negotiations.
This impasse did leave many to believe that Cook might receive the franchise tag after all, but it appears that he will have an opportunity to test his value on the open market when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 12. Still, the Titans do have until that point to continue to try and work out a long term deal for Cook, but as to whether or not that will happen is anybody's guess.
Cook had a down year in 2012, with just 523 receiving yards off of 44 receptions. In 2011, he had 759 receiving yards (a career high) off of 49 receptions. He's been inconsistent, so his market value is debatable, but at 25 years of age, he should receive interest on the open market.
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