The Saints are officially tight end shopping.
The club announced Wednesday it had terminated the contracts of veterans Jared Cook and Josh Hill. Cook was due a roster bonus of more than $8 million on the second day of the new league year later this month.
Cook had 7 TD receptions in 2020, but he is best remembered for the third quarter fumble that set in motion Tampa Bay’s comeback in the divisional playoffs. The Bucs won 30-20, and eventually won the Super Bowl.
The Saints thanked both on twitter, Wednesday.
Here’s the official release from the Saints.
New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced today that the club has terminated the contracts of tight ends Josh Hill and Jared Cook.
Hill, 6-5, 250 pounds, filled various roles for the Saints as a receiver, blocker, fullback and special teams contributor after making the team in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Idaho State. Hill appeared in 117 regular season games with 62 starts for New Orleans and posted 116 receptions for 1,071 yards with 15 touchdowns and recorded 27 special teams tackles. In nine postseason games with four starts, he posted 15 receptions for 166 yards with one touchdown.
In 2020, Hill played in 14 games with seven starts and posted eight receptions for 46 yards with one touchdown while playing an important blocking role for the NFL’s sixth-ranked rushing offense, one season after posting career-highs in catches (25) and receiving yards (226) in 2019.
“He is a true professional,” Loomis said of Hill. “He has done so many things that very few people noticed but his coaches and teammates certainly were aware of his contribution to the team’s success over the better part of the last decade. He played with tremendous heart and determination and personified the characteristics that we highly value. He certainly earned our respect and admiration throughout his time in our program.”
“Josh joined us an undrafted free agent in 2013 and has been a model of consistency throughout his eight seasons with us,” said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. “He has been reliable, selfless and filled numerous roles for us, oftentimes on the fly and in the middle of games, filling each role at a very high level. We appreciate everything he has done for our team and know he will have continued success as he moves forward.”
Cook, 6-6, 254, was signed by New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent in 2019 and is a 12-year NFL veteran who was originally selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans out of the University of South Carolina. He has appeared in 178 career games with 89 starts, posting 505 receptions for 6,673 yards (13.2 avg.) with 41 touchdowns.
Since joining New Orleans in 2019, Cook, played in 29 games and recorded 80 receptions for 1,209 yards (15.1 avg.) with 16 touchdowns, tied for the second-highest scoring grab total at the position during that period. After being named to the Pro Bowl in 2019, recording 43 grabs for 705 yards (16.4 avg.) with nine touchdowns, Cook played in 15 games in 2020 and led the tight ends group with 37 catches for 504 yards (13.6 avg.) and a team-best seven touchdown receptions.
“Jared consistently displayed the playmaking skills that attracted us to him as a free agent two years ago,” said Payton. “He made a lot of big plays for us and was a positive influence on his teammates. Jared is a consummate professional who is dedicated to his craft and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”