After starting at tight end for the Washington Redskins for the past eight years, the team has moved on from Chris Cooley. The Redskins officially annouced his release on Tuesday.
This move doesn't come as a surprise to many with 2008 second round pick Fred Davis finally earning a starting role with his impressive production a season ago. Despite missing the final four games of 2011 due to a suspension, Davis racked up 796 yards on 59 receptions to go along with 3 touchdowns.
Although Cooley is no longer a fit in the Redskins offence, he still believes he's good enough to be an NFL starter. Drafted as a third round pick in the 2004 draft out of Utah State, Cooley became a consistent contributor and was a reliable target for each quarterback who dawned the burgandy and gold. He was also a Pro Bowl tight end twice during his tenure in Washington.
Over two of the past three seasons, Cooley has been plagued by injuries and failed to play in more than seven games in a single year. With him out of the lineup Fred Davis took full advantage, forcing Cooley to convert to a fullback in order to remain a Redskin. Cooley's most recent full season came in 2010 when he was one of the most productive tight ends in the league, totalling 849 yards on 77 catches.
Cooley's release has already caught the attention of several teams including the Miami Dolphins. It's true that at 30 years of age Chris Cooley is passed his prime and his durabilty is a concern however he is arguably a better pass catcher than any player currently on the Dolphins roster.
Miami's recievers have not performed well this preseason and offensive cordinator Mike Sherman recorded 8 drops against the Falcons. With the execption of Davone Bess none of the Dolphins recievers have yet to earn a spot on the roster, meaning the team is required to look elsewhere. Jeff Ireland must sign replacements for the current recieving core and signing Chris Cooley would be a great start to ensure the Dolphins are competitive this year.
A veteran of Cooley's calibre would provide major assistance to rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill who is in desperate need of a security blanket. Unforunately for Miami, a variety of suitors will be fighting for Cooley's services. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier that in addition to the Dolphins, the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders will also pursue the veteran tight end.
Miami's front office will have to act fast if Chris Cooley is to take his talents to South Beach this season and his veteran presence alone will pay dividends.
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