The best tight end remaining in free agency is coming off the board. The Raiders are signing Jared Cook to a two-year contract worth up to $12.2MM, including a fully guaranteed first year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Cook will earn $5MM in 2017, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter).
Oakland was among several teams that targeted Cook, who nearly re-signed with the Packers and also drew interest from the Bills, Seahawks, Lions and Vikings. Minnesota made a strong effort to sign Cook, relays Caplan (on Twitter), but his meeting with the Raiders on Thursday went well enough for a deal to come together with Oakland. Star quarterback Derek Carr helped convince the 29-year-old pass catcher to sign, per Caplan, who tweets that the two “spent a lot of time” with each other – including watching tape – and “bonded.”
Before Carr recruited Cook to the Raiders, he helped lure in receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Those two will provide further weaponry in a high-octane passing attack whose best options are wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Cook will move atop the Raiders’ tight end depth chart and slot in ahead of Clive Walford and Lee Smith, giving the team an impressive trio at the position.
The Raiders will be the fourth team for Cook, a 2009 third-round pick who has combined for 303 receptions and 17 touchdowns in stints with the Titans, Rams and Packers. In his lone season in Green Bay, Cook appeared in 10 games and caught 30 of 51 targets for 377 yards and a TD. He was far more impressive in the Packers’ two-game playoff run, in which he combined for 13 receptions on 23 targets, 181 yards and two scores.
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