All but one of the Raiders’ free-agent signings this offseason were on the offensive side of the ball. The team addressed the running back group, the offensive line, the wide receivers, but perhaps most important of all was the addition of Jared Cook to the tight ends group.
Cook balled out in the playoffs for the Packers, helping them reach the NFC Championship Game, and surely that was a big reason he got the contract from Oakland. But what can he bring to the table this year?
I asked Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders that very question, and here is what he had to say:
RD: Derek Carr likes to spread the ball around, and likes to use the tight end. With Mychal Rivera gone and Clive Walford not exactly being prime Antonio Gates, how do you think Jared Cook looks this season?
FO: Cook has kind of mastered the art of looking like a fine, athletic pass catcher one week, and a hands-of-stone dud the following week. In the end, he finds a way to make enough plays and finish with a 500-yard season or thereabouts. We actually projected him for 591 yards this year. The Raiders no doubt could use help at the tight end position in the passing game, but I wouldn’t count on Cook to turn in many performances like he had in the playoffs for Green Bay in January.
Well, that’s not too bad! 591 yards that weren’t there last season would certainly be welcome, and I think the most important thing Cook brings is yet another tall, strong red-zone option for Derek Carr. It’s important that the Raiders finish drives with six points instead of three if they want to contend for a Super Bowl this year, and Cook will certainly create some mismatches for Carr to exploit.