It appears the Raiders are now in the market for a tight end.
Jared Cook, who had a career year for the Raiders in 2018 – the final year of his contract – is apparently set to sign with the New Orleans Saints, according to NFL.com Thursday morning. In 2018, Cook had 68 catches for 896 yards and six touchdowns.
The Raiders had hoped to retain Cook, but knew he would be attractive to many other teams and it might make him too expensive. Terms of his deal with the Saints weren’t available.
With Cook gone, the Raiders have two tight ends on the roster, veterans Lee Smith – more a blocker – and Derek Carrier. Neither ranks as starting-caliber receiver at the position, so the Raiders are likely to add a tight end in the draft or free agency.
The Raiders went into the free-agent period hoping to retain Cook, who played very well and meshed with quarterback Derek Carr. Cook, along with new wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, would have given Carr a dangerous trio of targets in 2019.
Said head coach Jon Gruden, before Cook hit the open market: “We’ll do the best we can to get him back. It will be competitive. I’m sure there are a lot of teams who look at the tape and put him on the wish list.”