Saints release tight ends Jared Cook and Josh Hill

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John Sigler
·2 min read
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The New Orleans Saints released veteran tight ends Jared Cook and Josh Hill per Wednesday’s update to the daily NFL transactions wire. Cook’s release was expected, given his big $8 million roster bonus was due in a few weeks, which the Saints were not going to pay after his subpar 2020 campaign. The decision to cut Hill is more surprising, though New Orleans could use the $2.5 million in salary cap savings it brings.

Hill was one of the longest-tenured players on the roster, having appeared in 117 regular season games since 2013. He and Cook were co-starters the last two years, playing frequently together while 2020 rookie Adam Trautman learned the ropes behind them. Hill logged 1,008 snaps on offense over the last two seasons, whereas Cook was in on 968 plays. While Cook was a receiver first and foremost, Hill has been one of Sean Payton’s most highly-valued blockers for almost a decade.

That puts a lot of pressure on Trautman to make a leap in his second NFL season. The only other tight ends on the roster right now are practice squad holdovers Garrett Griffin and Ethan Wolf; the Saints previously released backups Cole Wick and Jason Vander Laan, both of whom opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.

Maybe Hill returns at a lower rate, but you’d think he would have agreed to a pay cut if that were possible. But Cook’s frustrating drops and turnovers spelled the end of his time in New Orleans. Now, it’s all up to Trautman, “the Big Fish” himself.

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