After missing out on signing former Green Bay Packers guard T.J. Lang over the weekend, the Seahawks are apparently going to take a look at another former Packer this week.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Seahawks are going to bring tight end Jared Cook in for a visit.
Cook will not return to Green Bay next season as the Packers signed Martellus Bennett, the brother of Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, last week.
With a still somewhat limited free agent budget and Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham still on the roster, the Seahawks' interest in Cook is somewhat intriguing. Backup tight end Luke Willson remains on the free agent market after going through the first weekend of free agency unsigned as well. Seattle is also interested in free agent running backs Jamaal Charles, Latavius Murray, Eddie Lacy and Adrian Peterson in addition to still needing further help on the offensive line.
So how does Cook fit into the equation?
As if currently sits, the Seahawks are set to pay Graham $10 million this season. He was due a $2 million roster bonus over the weekend and remains as an $8 million obligation for this season. However, since he was acquired in a trade, there is no "dead money" left on his deal in Seattle and he could be released or traded without further financial cost to the Seahawks.
General manager John Schneider said at the NFL combine that they absolutely plan on Graham being a part of the roster this season.
Bennett signed a three-year deal with Green Bay that averages $7 million a season with just under $4 million in salary cap commitments this year, via OverTheCap.com. Let's use $4 million as a baseline number for Cook just for ease of use. That would give Seattle a cap commitment of approximately $14 million to the tight end position this year.
Would Seattle actually be willing to commit that much money to the position with a strong tight end draft class this year? Is the interest in Cook a precursor to a potential move of Graham?
With most of the top free agent offensive linemen off the market, a trade of Graham may be the only way for Seattle to address their line issues outside of the draft. Even then, another draft pick doesn't settle Seattle's desire to get more experience in their offensive line group.
Let me make this clear. The following is a complete hypothetical with no information backing it up.
Raiders tackle Donald Penn is in the final year of his two-year contract with Oakland. Graham is in the final year of his contract with Seattle. Maybe the Seahawks look to swing a trade of Graham (and his $8 million contract) to Oakland in exchange for Penn (and his $6 million plus salary) and a late-round draft pick. Then Seattle signs Cook to be their top tight end for this season. Schneider and Raiders G.M. Reggie McKenzie have a strong relationship and Seattle had interest in Penn as a free agent last year.
The Seahawks may no longer be interested in Penn. They may be wholly committed to Graham on their roster and the Raiders may not be interested in dealing their starting left tackle either. There's a reason the previous scenario was completely hypothetical. However, it illustrates an idea Seattle could look to employ to find offensive line help through other means.
The Seahawks have said they intend for Graham to be with the team this season. That may absolutely be the case. Seattle may not sign Cook either, which is an absolute possibility as well. Seattle also could look to give Graham an extension, which could potentially lower is cap cost for this season too. However, the interest in Cook is curious to make one wonder if there might be some other end game at play as well.
Cook, who has also played for Tennessee and St. Louis in eight seasons in the NFL, caught 30 passes for 377 yards and one touchdown in 10 games for Green Bay last season.
Photo Credit: ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22: Jared Cook #89 of the Green Bay Packers makes a catch and is tackled by De'Vondre Campbell #59 of the Atlanta Falcons in the second half in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)