As if the Las Vegas Raiders don’t have enough to worry about, opposing tight ends in the AFC West will present another challenge in 2021.
The Silver and Black will be facing a very familiar face next season when they face the Los Angeles Chargers, tight end Jared Cook. Despite a drop in production these past two years, Cook’s still a reliable weapon and will serve quarterback Justin Herbert well. The ‘Bolts’ needed to replace Hunter Henry, who like the Raiders’ Nelson Agholor, decided to join the New England Patriots. As a result, Los Angeles agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million with Cook, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
TE Jared Cook to the Chargers – 1-year, $6mil max, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2021
The Raiders have been unable to stop tight ends for what seems like an eternity, particularly within their own division. This is thanks to Kansas City Chiefs’ star, Travis Kelce along with Henry, and Antonio Gates before him. At 33, it’s possible that Cook’s best days are behind him, and no longer the Pro Bowl star he was with the Raiders. Regardless, Cook has still hauled in 16 touchdowns over the last two years, so this signing can’t be taken lightly.
The Raiders lost a good one in Jared Cook
When Cook joined the New Orleans Saints, the move was seen as a significant loss. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden himself called his departure ‘sickening’ at that time. His two seasons in Silver and Black were bright spots on otherwise unremarkable team campaigns. He accumulated 122 receptions and 1,584 receiving yards in two seasons and moved the chains for the Raiders, totaling 46 first-down catches in 2018 alone.
While losing Cook at that time certainly stung, it led to Darren Waller’s rise to stardom in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the heated AFC West where divisional matchups are so pivotal.
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*Top Photo: Brett Duke/Associated Press