Raiders head coach Jon Gruden expressed his desire to re-sign tight end Jared Cook, who is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018 season, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Whoever the GM is, we’ll show him some tape and show him how important Jared is,” said Gruden.
As Tafur notes, no matter whom the Raiders select to replace the recently-fired Reggie McKenzie, Gruden figures to retain either de facto or outright control of the club’s personnel. Therefore, if Gruden is highly interested in retaining Cook for 2019 and beyond, it stands to reason Oakland will be competitive with an offer to the veteran tight end.
Cook, 31, is in the midst of the best season of his NFL career, leading the Raiders in receptions (61), receiving yardage (825), and receiving touchdowns (6). Cook ranks as a top-five tight end league-wide in all three of those categories, while Pro Football Focus grades him fourth at his position. Additionally, Cook is third among NFL tight ends in Football Outsiders’ DYAR — which measures value over a replacement level player — and fourth in DVOA, which quantifies value on a per-play basis.
Despite his age, Cook should easily garner the most significant free agent tight end contract next spring. Other available options at the position are uninspiring at first glance, as free agents will include C.J. Uzomah, Jeff Heuerman, Josh Hill, Geoff Swaim, and Jesse James, among others.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.