ST. LOUIS — They lost slot receiver Danny Amendola, but the St. Louis Rams gained tight end Jared Cook, who is comfortable working out of the slot.
"The majority of my time was in the slot," said Cook, who caught 93 passes for 1,282 and seven touchdowns over the last two seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
Cook signed a five-year, $35.1 million contract that includes $19 million in guaranteed money with the Rams on Wednesday.
Amendola signed a five-year, $31 million contract with the New England Patriots on Wednesday.
While Amendola replaces Wes Welker for the Patriots, Cook could in a sense replace Amendola for the Rams.
The Titans considered placing the franchise tag on Cook. There even was some talk that Cook wanted to be tendered as a franchise wide receiver instead of tight end because he played so much in the slot.
"The statistics showed it," Cook said.
That doesn't mean the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Cook thinks of himself more as a wide receiver than a tight end.
"I consider myself a really good tight end," Cook said.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher sees Cook and returning starter Lance Kendricks creating mismatches in two tight end sets.
"We had an eye on Jared throughout the offseason not knowing if he was going to be available, and when we found out he was available, we got right to work," Fisher said. "Obviously, I know Jared very well, and I know he's going to be a big part of our offense."
Fisher was the coach of the Titans when they selected Cook in the third round (89th overall pick) of the 2009 NFL draft.
"It was his production and his size, speed and ability to stretch fields," Fisher said of what he liked about Cook coming out of South Carolina. "He has giant hands, and he makes the tough catches. He's a smart young man and he understands offense. He creates mismatches, that was the reason. We actually traded a future pick to get him."
The Titans traded a second-round pick in the 2010 draft to select Cook.
As for Cook's hands, they measured 10 1/4 inches at the NFL combine. An average man's hands measure less than 7 1/2 inches.
Those big hands enabled Cook to dunk a basketball when he was in the seventh grade.
"That was my first love growing up," Cook said of basketball. "I played a lot on the AAU circuit. I played for the Georgia Stars, two-time national champions. A lot of that translated into football. A lot of players, and a lot of tight ends, played basketball as well."
Cook gave up basketball because he knew he wouldn't be tall enough to play forward or center.
"I knew I wasn't going to grow much anymore," Cook said. "If I was going to be 6-5 or 6-4, I was going to be point guard or a (No.) 2 guard. I decided I'd be a better target as a big receiver."
Cook is known more for his receiving than his blocking, but Fisher doesn't see Cook's blocking as a problem.
"Jarred is a good blocker," Fisher said. "He is a good position blocker. Jared is not a 295-pound tight end that is going to drive you into the secondary, but he is going to get the job done."
The Rams feel like Cook has just scratched the surface on his potential, but Cook doesn't like that word.
"I see the word 'potential' as you really ain't done nothing," Cook said. "I don't see that as myself. I am on the elevator going up, and I don't see myself looking back at all. I am excited about the future here in St. Louis."
Cook has a low baritone voice that has led to comparisons to crooner Barry White.
"I've heard that my whole life," Cook said. "I've always had a deep voice. Everybody tells me I need to do late-night radio or have my own talk show."
Offensive tackle Jake Long was still in St. Louis on a free-agent visit Thursday.
"I can't go into that now, but he's still here and that's a good sign," Fisher said. "He's a very, very talented player, and he still has a lot left."
Injuries have plagued Long, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, the last two years, but Fisher said the Rams have checked him out medically.
"Obviously, part of this process is you have to do your due diligence from a physical standpoint," Fisher said. "We've done that. Let's see where it goes."
If Long is signed, Rodger Saffold would likely slide from left tackle to right tackle.
Saffold's agent, Alan Herman, said his client wouldn't be happy about a move to the right side.
"We had discussions with Rog, not his agents, and what I'm concerned about right now is Rodger, and Rodger is fine," Fisher said.
The Rams made an offer to Detroit safety Louis Delmas, but he left St. Louis for a visit with the San Francisco 49ers.
"We've left the door open, so we'll see where that goes," Fisher said.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.