Oakland Raiders: Predicting biggest moves of 2019 NFL free agency

Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images
Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images /
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Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images /

Jared Cook stays with the Raiders

If there’s one pending free agent who needs to be re-signed this offseason, it’s Jared Cook. The Raiders’ top receiving option this past season, he quietly proved to be one of the NFL’s most effective tight ends while serving as Derek Carr‘s go-to target.

In only his second season with the franchise, Cook collected career highs in receptions (68), receiving yards (896) and receiving touchdowns (6). Although the lack of other capable options played a role in his success, Cook capitalized, earning his first Pro Bowl selection along the way.

So why would Gruden dare let him go? It won’t be cheap to retain him after a “breakout season,” but the 31-year-old tight end isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg either. As long as the Raiders are willing to offer him a substantial raise, they should be able to convince him to stay put.

Especially if the Raiders are going to stick with Carr under center, he’ll need a reliable tight end to toss the pigskin to. Cook isn’t the youngest or most athletic player at the position, but he proved in 2018 that he can still be a difference maker. Bringing him back ensures some continuity while retaining Carr’s favorite target from a season ago.

Regardless of price, Cook must be re-signed. I’m predicting the Raiders do what’s necessary to bring him back for another go-around, even if it’s only a short-term one.