An unexpected skirmish has emerged in the aftermath of Green Bay’s decision to pull the plug on talks with tight end Jared Cook and to sign Martellus Bennett instead.
In response to reports/suggestions that the Packers were close to paying Cook more than the three years, $18.45 million that Bennett reportedly will receive, a source with direct knowledge of the discussions claims otherwise.
First, the source insists that Bennett received three-year, $21 million package, a “clean” $7 million per year arrangement with no incentives or fluff. (The contract eventually will be filed and reported on, so the truth on that specific claim eventually will come out.) The source also says that the most the Packers offered Cook was $6 million per year, and that included incentives.
The Packers, we’re told, made it clear to Bennett that they are loyal to the players who played for them, and they were candid about the intense effort invested in trying to get a deal done with Cook. That loyalty actually had a positive impact on Bennett, even though it delayed the team’s effort to pursue him — and potentially would have made an arrangement between Bennett and the Packers moot.
Ultimately, the Packers decided to pay more for the man they deemed to be better player, and to let Cook look for a better offer elsewhere.
So why are there multiple reports to the contrary? With Cook still unsigned, it remains important for him to maximize his market. If the narrative can be established that the Packers viewed Cook as worth more than Bennett, maybe one of the other 31 teams will see it that way, too. Or at least something close to that way.