The news came out today that the Washington Redskins have released long time and former Pro-Bowl tight end Chris Cooley. I think that Cooley would be an amazing addition to the team, and I’ll detail why here in a moment.
One thing that makes any situation like this easier is that the Colts have the first crack at any player placed on waivers thanks to their 2-14 record in 2011. Some Colts fans (maybe even most) might be wondering why in the world their team should try and sign a 30 year-old tight end with a recent history of injuries when there are two rookie stud-to-be guys manning (no pun intended) that spot right now.
As we’ve already covered, some of you might think there is no reason for the Colts to add Cooley with rookies Coy Fleener and Dwayne Allen already on the roster. But what happens if one – or even both – of the highly touted rookies goes down with an injury? Look at who’s behind them on the depth chart (understanding that the cut to 53 is yet to come): Dominique Jones, Kyle Miller, and Andre Smith. If you’ve heard of any of these guys outside of late pre-season action, I’ll kiss a goat. Cooley would add much needed depth to a team that needs it just about every where.
I don’t know what the average age of the current Colts team is, nor the average career length to date. I don’t really need to know the exact numbers to know that a team that was among the oldest in the league last year is now among the youngest. Sure, you’ve got cagey vets like Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, and Robert Mathis, but adding one more guy who has played for a while and has had success can only be a positive. A man like Cooley could help show Fleener and Allen what it takes to reach their potential.
History of Production
So let’s list the career numbers: 101 games played (94 started), 428 receptions, 4,703 yards, with 33 touchdowns. Oh, there’s also the two Pro-Bowl selections (2007 and 2008) and the All-Pro team in 2005. No other tight end on the team even has one regular season catch. Still think the Colts don’t need him?
With Cooley’s recent injury history (he missed 9 games in 2009 and 11 in 2011), he should realize that he’s not going to make Vernon Davis money. If the Colts can manage to sign him to a one or two year deal at around $2 million per year, it would be a great investment with minimal risk. If he produces, great, they can sign him to a longer term deal if either Allen or Fleener doesn’t work out. If not, no big loss, financially.
There are reasons that the Colts might not consider claiming Cooley, which include his injury history, and the fact he might want to go to a place he’ll be guaranteed a starting spot, but really the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. colts fans should keep their eyes on this, because Andrew Luck could really use another guy to throw to and to potentially help with the horrendous protection he’s getting right now.
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