The New Orleans Saints officially acquired tight end Jared Cook via free agency on Wednesday morning. Cook, the 10-year veteran tight end signed a 2-year $15.5 million contract with the NFC South champions.
Cook is coming off of a career season with the Oakland Raiders. He caught 68 passes for 896 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2018. Cook averaged 56 reception yards per game last year. In fact, Cook’s previous high was 47.4 yards per game with the Tennessee Titans in 2011. Cook also posted a career high 67.3 catch percentage with the Raiders. However, he decided to move on from the Bay area and team up with quarterback Drew Brees.
Keep in mind, Cook only played in two playoff games during his career. He started three games for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. Cook produced 18 receptions for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns during that run.
In addition to playing with Brees in a high powered offense, Cook has the opportunity to play for a Super Bowl contender. Over the last two seasons, the Saints have lost in the divisional round and the NFC Championship game. Both losses have come on the final play of the game. They just need one more step to get to the big game. However, they lost a critical fixture at the tight end position.
Ben Watson led all tight ends with 35 receptions last season. He also scored two touchdowns during his final NFL season. Watson announced he would retire prior to the NFC Championship game. He kept his promise and the Saints have been in the market ever since. Watson also caught 76.1% of his targets last season.
As a result, Cook could be in store for another career season. It will be interesting to see if Cook can become a deep threat over the middle. He averaged 13.2 yards per reception last season. As long as the defense is trying to blanket Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara in the passing game, Cook might just run free through many secondaries
The Saints are (24-8) over the last two seasons. Yet, they don’t have the most weapons in the passing game. Therefore, Cook’s arrival may change every opponent’s game plan.
The Saints weren’t the only team to vying for Cook’s services. Naturally, the Raiders wanted to keep their tight end with the new-look offense. The New England Patriots also wanted to sign Cook in the offseason. Future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski just retired from the NFL on Sunday.
Cook will enter his 11th NFL season with 425 receptions for 5,464 yards and 25 touchdown receptions. The Saints will be is fifth team in 11 seasons. Cook was selected by the Titans in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL draft. In addition to the Titans, Packers and Raiders, Cook played with the St. Louis Rams for three seasons.