The Raiders level of play this season, hasn’t been up to the potential that the fan base expected heading into Jon Gruden’s first season back on the sideline. With only a few bright spots on the year, the production out of Jared Cook has caught the attention of people league-wide.
Jared Cook has emerged, with his superior talent at tight end. Cook has raised some eyebrows setting career-high’s in receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns. He has evolved as Derek Carr’s go-to option in critical situations. Cook leads the team in targets (93), catches (63), receiving yards (848) and touchdowns with six.
Cook will be the top tight end on the free agent market this offseason. Cook, previously played for the Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers before signing a two-year contract with the Oakland Raiders. Cook has never received a significant pay day when signing any of his past contracts throughout his career, it’s likely he hit’s the market this offseason to see what he can get. Cook will more than likely get some enticing offers from around the league.
Gruden has expressed interest in retaining Cook after this season. Cook gives the Raiders a piece that is hard for opposing defenses to matchup against. Defenses have a difficult time detouring Cook’s routes with his giant frame, at 6’5″ 254 pounds.
Cook missed out on the pro bowl, even with 848 yards and six touchdowns. Travis Kelce and Eric Ebron got voted in as the two tight ends to represent the AFC. Although, Cook was named a pro bowl alternative.
Gruden’s well aware that his tight end will be in high-demand, come this offseason. Gruden was asked by the media last week during his press conference where the re-signing of Jared Cook ranks on the priority list this offseason?
“Hopefully it’s on a high priority, whoever the general manager is, we’ll show him some tape of Jared Cook,” Gruden said. “This guy has been dazzling as a receiver. We’ve been able to put him in so many different positions, in the slot, at wide receiver, his conditioning, his stamina, his competitiveness, his running after the catch. I’m really excited about the season he’s had. Hopefully we get him back.”
Once teams start throwing money at Cook during free agency, it will reveal how content Cook is in the middle of a Raiders rebuild. Another thing to keep in mind, Cook has never won a super bowl during his ten year career. If some contending teams make a solid offer his way, it could throw a wrench into the plans of the Raiders in re-signing him.
Receivers have never been more important in the NFL, than they are in today’s game. The NFL is clearly a pass-first league and the importance of having pass catches to sling the ball to has never been more critical. The market for receivers last offseason was sky high, such as Sammy Watkins signing for (3 years, $48 million). Big pay day for Watkins, being that he’s only played a full season one time in his career. I’d project Cook to get offers around (2-3 years, $8-10 million per year).
(Photo: Allan Yuan/ Oakland Raiders)
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