The Green Bay Packers surprised everyone by signing Martellus Bennett Friday. But on Saturday, Ted Thompson made another surprise move as he signed former Los Angeles Rams tight end Lance Kendricks.
The move may seem strange, seeing as Green Bay just acquired a Pro-Bowl tight end. But when you think about Jared Cook and just how much he was missed when he was hurt last season, it makes perfect sense.
Everyone wants to talk about how well the Packers played down the stretch with Cook. Well, what if Cook had been healthy for those games? Or what if the Packers had a viable alternative? Maybe they wouldn't have needed to run the table after all.
With only Richard Rodgers and some no names on the roster at tight end, Thompson had to make a move and Kendricks brings in a very Cook-like player, a guy who has talent, but has never played with a legit starting quarterback.
In six seasons, Kenricks has 202 receptions for 2,132 yards and 17 touchdowns. Last season, he hauled in 50 passes for 499 yards and two touchdowns. It was his best season in terms of receptions and second best when it comes to yards. Kendricks also runs the 40 in 4.57 and is 6-3, 240 pounds. He may not be as big as Cook, but he will cause some matchup problems. He will also provide insurance for Bennett.
More than that, I expect the Packers to play a lot of two tight-end sets. Head coach Mike McCarthy loves tight ends and with the pass-catching ability of Kendricks and Bennett, I would expect him to come up with ways to get them on the field together.
Kendricks has been a bit underwhelming in his time with the Rams, but he has only missed a handful of games in his career. So he is reliable. He also has never had a quarterback better than Sam Bradford throwing him the football. That will change this season with Aaron Rodgers under center.
With that in mind, it's easy to see Kendricks excelling in Green Bay just like Cook did last season. He may not have the same impact and depending on Bennett, he may not have as many opportunities. But Kendricks is coming aboard for a reason. He is going to be counted on to stretch the field and split out wide. He is going to be a mismatch guy.
So if you are wondering why the Packers signed a second free agent tight end in two days, that and Kendrick's ability to provide insurance for Bennett, are the reasons why.
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