Should the Jets Look Into Chris Cooley?
By Alan Schechter
July 30, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley (47) runs with the ball during Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
The first major cut down of the season has come and gone. The rosters have been reduced, with more to come at the end of the week. There haven’t been a great deal of guys worth looking into yet, thanks to the increased rosters in the new CBA. We talked about one worthy free agent that the Jets should look into, WR Jabar Gaffney.
Yesterday, an interesting cut happened down I-95 with the Washington Redskins. It was announced that the Redskins had released TE Chris Cooley. Should the Jets look into this guy? I believe that they should.
First of all, he is a veteran presence on the offensive side of the ball. He may not be a wide receiver, as we talked about with Jabar Gaffney, but he is still a veteran. Mark Sanchez has a crop of wide receivers that are severely lacking in experience, as has been widely documented. His experience would be a valuable asset to the Jets offense.
He also has been reliable throughout his career. In eight seasons, Cooley has recorded 428 receptions to go along with 33 TDs. In every season that Chris started in 15 games or more, his lowest reception total was 57. He is an able bodied pass catcher, and is a proven threat, which the Jets are severely lacking.
Dec 04, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets fullback Josh Baker (45) during the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. the Jets defeated the Redskins 34-19. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
A lot of people talk about the fact that Chris Cooley isn’t a good run blocker, which is true. His reputation is pretty poor as a blocker. The argument is being made that the Jets should not look into this guy, because we should be looking for a blocking tight end. That part is true, we do need a blocking tight end. But, the reason the Jets should look into Cooley is the guy to the left. Josh Baker.
Josh Baker was having an excellent training camp, working in the H-Back/TE role. Until, that is, the horrific collision that Baker suffered on Sunday night, ending his 2012 season. This is a role that will be valuable to the Jets, especially in the red zone. This would be why the Jets should still make inquiries on Cooley, despite the fact that he is not a good blocker.
If, of course, a few things check out.
First, he has to be willing to play the role that the Jets are looking for. Cooley has been a starter for his entire career, and that will not, and should not, happen if he comes to New York. Despite the shortcomings that a lot of people point out with Dustin Keller, he has been Mark Sanchez’s most consistent weapon, and has earned the right to start for this team. Chris Cooley has to be able to accept a lesser role, or bringing him in is not even worth discussing.
Secondly, Cooley’s health must be in order. He had arthroscopic knee surgery following the 2010 season, and only was active for 5 games in 2011, before he was put on IR because his knee had not fully healed. He has lost weight and appeared healthy again at Redskins camp, but the Jets will have to make sure. The Jets must put him through whatever tests are necessary to confirm Cooley’s health, or a contract offer must be out of the question.
If all of these factors check out, this guy is worth a look. He has been a quality, reliable target for quite some time. Despite the fact that he won’t be much help in the Ground and Pound, the Jets need weapons. There is a hole that Josh Baker’s injury has left open. A healthy and willing Chris Cooley would do an excellent job filling it.
Mike Tannenbaum should definitely give a look.