2013 Cap hit for all TEs on roster ($4.99m) – 4.7% of team spend Players under contract: Craig Stevens (6’3”, 268) – 28 years old 2013 Cap Number - $3.5m ($2.5m salary + $1m SB pro-rata) 2014 Cap Number – $4.4m ($3.4m salary + $1m SB pro-rata) 2015 Cap Number - $4.5m ($3.5m salary + $1m SB pro-rata) Taylor Thompson (6’6”, 280) – 23 years old 2013 Cap Number - $0.53m ($0.48m salary + $0.05m SB pro-rata) 2014 Cap Number – $0.62m ($0.57m salary +$0.05m SB pro-rata) 2015 Cap Number – $0.71m ($0.66m salary +$0.05m SB pro-rata) Brandon Barden (6’4”, 251) – 23 years old 2013 Cap Number - $0.48m 2014 Cap Number – RFA Beau Brinkley (6’4”, 237) – 22 years old 2013 Cap Number - $0.48m 2014 Cap Number - $0.57m 2015 Cap Number - RFA Expired Contracts Jared Cook Martell Webb 3 burning questions 1. What role does the 2013 Offense have for the TE? Depending on whether it’s Loggains, Tice or someone else calling plays in 2013, the role of the TE is very much up in the air. Tice has never featured a TE in his offensive systems (nor wins for that matter) and with Loggains we really don’t know as he was working with Palmer’s remnants for the back end of 2012. It’s an important question in understanding the value of Cook. 2. Do we franchise Cook? I would be stunned if the team and Cook agreed on a long-term deal before Free Agency, given the comments coming out of his camp over the last 12 months. The Franchise Tag is the only way to guarantee he is on our roster next season. The Franchise Tag for a TE is $5.5m. I have no doubt that Cook’s agent will try and make a case that he is used as a WR and should get the WR Tag value, but I don’t see that happening. I have no doubt Cook is looking for a long-term deal averaging over $5m a year. 3. Can Thompson catch? The jury is still out on the converted DE. His blocking this season was outstanding and he is definitely a keeper for that alone. He has the athleticism that could be very useful if he improves his hands. Free Agency: With all our other needs, I can’t see us wasting time and money this season chasing a top-tier TE. If we want one, then we just use the franchise tag on Cook and be done with it. Martellus Bennett Brandon Myers Delanie Walker Dallas Clark Tony Fasano Possible Cap Casualties: Jermichael Finley Potential Draft Targets: Unlikely to be a target early. Even if we let Cook go, I think they would be more likely to slide the other guys up the depth chart and draft for depth. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati Dion Sims, Michigan State Gavin Escobar, San Diego State Summary If we retain Cook, I think you can argue this is a clear team strength. There have been games where Cook disappeared, but it’s hard to know if that is on him or the playcalling. I do have concerns that he is a bit of a 1-trick pony. His blocking is still very ordinary and apart from streaks and crossing routes he rarely creates separation in the passing game. He certainly is not used on pivot routes or sharp cutting routes like a lot of TEs and thus, he really doesn’t represent the safety valve that a lot of TEs can provide their QB. Stevens and Thompson are an integral part of our run game and have shown some ability as receivers in their scant opportunities. My take If we didn’t have so many holes elsewhere, I would be inclined to let Cook go and scour for an upgrade, but we don’t have that luxury this year. The Franchise Tag for a TE is very manageable at $5.5m, so I think there is little doubt he gets tagged before the deadline and our new OC is given the task of making him an integral part of our offense.