The New Orleans Saints have lacked a true threat in the passing game at the tight end position since they parted ways with Jimmy Graham several seasons ago, and they are hoping Jared Cook can help fill that role in 2019.
According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Saints have agreed to a deal with veteran tight end Jared Cook.
The Saints have a big void to fill at tight end with Benjamin Watson having retired. Watson caught just 35 passes for 400 yards last season, but he had 74 catches on 109 targets a few years back. Drew Brees is that much more dangerous when he has a tight end he can throw to.
Cook will soon turn 32 and is not going to be confused for Graham in his prime, but he caught 68 passes for 896 yards and six touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders in 2018. We had him near the top of our list of best remaining free agents, so he should be a nice addition for the Saints.
After the initial rush of NFL free agency, it turns out there are still plenty of good players available. Sure, they all have flaws, be it age, a part of their game that’s not quite as prominent as teams would like it to be, or an extensive injury history that has teams questioning whether they can stay on the field. But all of these players have had success at the NFL level and can be key contributors in the right situation if they stay healthy and find the right fit.
Here are ten NFL free agents who rank as the best still available.
10) Darqueze Dennard, CB
A slot corner turned starter for Cincinnati last season, Dennard grew into his role in the Bengals’ secondary during his time with the team. Ultimately, his financial demands forced the pair to go their separate ways this offseason. The slot corner market has been robust, and Dennard figures to play heavily into it. There are injury concerns here — Dennard has just one 16-game season to his name in his NFL career thus far — but if he can stay healthy, he’ll be a worthwhile investment for someone.
The NFL has been somewhat predictable over the past several seasons, but that changed in a significant way in 2018. In fact, this season felt like a new era had been ushered in, which can be cemented if the Kansas City Chiefs defeat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for a trip to the Super Bowl.
Much of the change can be attributed to young talent, but it wasn’t entirely exclusive to rookies and sophomores. In fact, several aging veterans broke through their shells in 2018 and performed at unexpected levels, so the norm was essentially thrown out of the window.
Here’s a look at 10 (of many) players who exceeded expectations in 2018.
10. Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders
Jared Cook has spent a decade in the NFL with four different teams and has consistently provided a quality veteran presence at the tight end position. His best year came in 2011 when he recorded 49 receptions for 759 yards and three touchdown for the Titans, which is a moderate level of success for the 31-year-old. But the former third-round pick saved his best for 2018 as Cook hauled in 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns, which all represented career highs. Cook’s 13.2 yards per reception were also the second-highest total in his career. Whether or not he’s able to replicate this level of success in 2019 remains to be seen, but at least for one year, Cook performed well beyond his expectations.
We have made it to the end of the 2018 NFL regular season, meaning all our questions about playoff positioning — and draft order — have been answered. There will be a lot of movement on the coaching market with vacancies coming up. For now, we have to sift through who came up big when it counted and who ended up having their heart broken.
Here are the 15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 17.
The Vikings had a very simple task — win at home against the Chicago Bears and they were in the playoffs. Not only did they fail to do so, but they didn’t even come particularly close. The Bears won 24-10, with the Minnesota offense a constant disaster area and players not on the same page. The defense was unable to get off the field, particularly on third down. This was a mess and will require a lot of soul-searching after a team expected to contend for a Super Bowl didn’t even make it to the postseason.
Jared Cook’s free agent visit with the Oakland Raiders must have gone well, because the tight end will be signing with the team.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports the news on Cook heading to the Raiders.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was involved in the free agent recruitment of Cook, which clearly paid off.
The Raiders will be Cook’s fourth NFL team. He previously was with the Titans, Rams, and then he spent last season in Green Bay, catching 30 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown.
The Packers turned to Martellus Bennett at tight end after negotiations with Cook broke down. Cook also received interest from the Vikings and Seahawks. He will be remembered fondly by Packers fans for this spectacular catch.
The Green Bay Packers survived a comeback attempt by the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday’s NFC playoff game, and they won 34-31 on a kick by Mason Crosby on the final play. But what set that up was a great catch from Jared Cook.
Cook had 6 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, but the big one came on a 3rd and 20 from the Packers’ 32 with 3 seconds left.
Cook was on the sideline and caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers without going out of bounds. He had to go to his knees for the 36-yard grab but did so after hauling in the ball.
That set up a 51-yard field goal by Crosby, who made the kick twice after the first was erased by a timeout call from Jason Garrett.
Green Bay will now visit Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game. The Packers have won eight in a row — six to end the regular season, and two in the postseason.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook stopped at a Buffalo Wild Wings for some grub earlier this week, and let’s just say the restaurant didn’t exactly get his order right.
Unless, of course, Cook ordered a fried chicken head.
And there goes your appetite.
Unfortunately, these things happen. There are countless stories out there about parts of a chicken that have no business being deep fried finding their way into a fast food box, but it goes without saying that this isn’t the best look for Buffalo Wild Wings.
The only question now is if Cook ended up leaving a tip bigger than the one this NFL player was blasted for leaving at a restaurant last month. Hey, it’s not the server’s fault, right?
The Green Bay Packers definitely went to Jared.
According to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com on Monday, the Packers have agreed to terms with free agent tight end Jared Cook on a one-year deal worth $3.6 million.
The 28-year-old Cook had 39 receptions for 481 yards in 16 games for the Rams in 2015.
While Cook has been a disappointment for several years now (failing to record even a single receiving touchdown last season), his value should skyrocket in Green Bay now that he’s catching footballs from Aaron Rodgers instead of the take-your-pick pupu platter of Sam Bradford, Austin Davis, Case Keenum, and Nick Foles.
Cook still has to address the chronic struggles with drops that have dogged him for what has felt like his entire career. But with his size and physicality in the middle of the field, he should form a nice dynamic with Richard Rodgers at the tight end position for Green Bay in 2016. It’s a solid get for them, especially on such a low-risk deal.
Image Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Jared Cook was one of a handful of St. Louis Rams players who took the field last Sunday doing a “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. Not surprisingly, the political statement has led to threats on social media.
On Wednesday night, Cook told The Associated Press that he believes the “world understands” why the players did what they did but that there has been plenty of backlash. He added that he has “absolutely” received threats.
“It’s all on the computer,” he said. “How can you really tell if someone’s typing keys?”
Some have supported the five players, while others — including the St. Louis Police Officers Association — have called for the NFL to discipline them. One sports bar in St. Louis has even announced that it will no longer support the Rams because of the Ferguson demonstration.
“‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ is not just a Ferguson thing, it’s a worldwide thing,” Cook said. “People are doing it in New York, people are doing it in Florida, people are doing it on the West Coast.
“It’s a message worldwide that you can do things peacefully without getting out of line.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he had a “productive conversation” with the players but would not elaborate.
One thing’s for sure: the five players have done their part to further the Ferguson discussion. If Fisher and company view it as a distraction, they have yet to say so publicly.
H/T Pro Football Talk
St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook shoved his quarterback Austin Davis on the sidelines Sunday after the team failed to score a touchdown in the red zone.
The Rams were up 21-20 and had the ball at the Dallas 10. On 3rd and 3, Davis threw a pass to Cook in the end zone that the tight end dropped. The Rams settled for a field goal to go up 24-20, but the two clearly had an issue on the sidelines.
As you can see, Cook goes up and shoves Davis, leading other Rams players to tell him to calm down.