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Raiders expect Jared Cook to test free agency

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Easily the top Raiders free agent looks to be headed for testing the waters of free agency. Jared Cook is expected to put out feelers come March 11 to see what kind of market is out there Mike Mayock told reporters at the scouting combine Wednesday.

This doesn’t mean Cook is for sure going to become a free agent. It means that he won’t be re-signed before the free agent negotiating period starts on March 11. At that point Cook’s agent will be allowed to speak with interested teams and possibly give the Raiders their terms it would take to get the 32-year-old tight end to return.

The 10-year veteran had a career year in 2018, leading the Raiders in receiving (896) and earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

His and the Raiders allowing for him to test the market will undoubtedly lead fans to make the tiresome claim that Cook just didn’t want to be a Raider, which is a big leap to make. He is hoping this will be the last contract he will sign, which means it will be more than a one or possibly more than a 2-year deal. The length of the contract is often more important than the year-by-year figures, because job security is very important to NFL players. If the Raiders aren’t offering that security, it’s wise for him to shop around to see what his market value is.

Should Cook sign elsewhere, obviously the need at the tight end position heading into the draft will jump up considerably on a team that already has too many glaring holes to fit them into a top five.