Jared Cook was underutilized in Tennessee and put up good per snap numbers as a receiver despite never really having great quarterback play. He has 1718 career receiving yards on 1057 career routes run, a rate of 1.63 yards per route run. For comparison, Owen Daniels had 1.63 yards per route run this season, good for 11th in the NFL.
However, he doesn’t block, which is a big part of the reason why he was only a part-time player in Tennessee and he’s still relatively unproven. The Rams are paying a lot of money to find out if he can be an elite tight end in the right situation, paying him 38.5 million over 5 years with 19 million guaranteed. The Patriots gave Aaron Hernandez, already a proven elite tight end, 40 million over 5 years with less guaranteed money, 16.4 million guaranteed, on his extension last off-season. Hernandez is also younger than Cook.
Even Dustin Keller is a more proven player than Cook and he got just 4.25 million over 1 year from the Dolphins. Keller would have made a lot more sense for the Rams, especially since he would have been reuniting with Brian Schottenheimer. Under Schottenheimer, currently the Rams’ offensive coordinator, Keller had 65 catches for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns in a breakout year with the Jets and Mark Sanchez in 2011. That’s more productive than Cook has ever been.