The Oakland Raiders, who have lost nine players to free agency, signed their third free agent on Thursday, landing former Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook. Interestingly enough, all three free agents the Raiders have signed are offensive players: Cook, receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse. The offense was the team's strength last season and the defense ranked No. 26 in total defense in the NFL.
Terms: Two years, worth up to $12.2 million with a fully guaranteed first year of $5 million and an injury guarantee in the second year.
ESPN 150 ranking: No. 80
What it means: Derek Carr played a major role in recruiting Cook, according to a report by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. He watched tape with Cook at the Raiders' facility, spent time with Cook during the visit and the two bonded quickly. So if Carr wanted him, the Raiders listened, and now Carr has another shiny new toy with which to terrorize defenses. There'a a reason Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Cook should have been "near the top of the priority list" for Green Bay to re-sign after he helped key the Packers' midseason turnaround, from a 4-6 record to the NFC title game. Cook missed six games with an ankle injury but played through the pain later, averaging 12.6 yards per catch with three touchdowns, including the postseason. And who can forget his acrobatic sideline grab with three seconds remaining to set up the Packers' game-winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round of the playoffs? Upgrade? Sure, especially when you consider the Raiders' tight ends last season totaled 581 receiving yards as a group, third-lowest in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus research.
Cook's arrival also means tight end Mychal Rivera's time with the team is likely done, as he is a free agent and that would also mean that no member of the Raiders' 10-man draft class from 2013 remains in Oakland. Think of it this way -- Cook is the pass-catching tight end, and Lee Smith, so long as he returns from his broken ankle suffered in Week 4, is the blocking tight end, and Clive Walford, who may not be fully healed from last offseason's ATV accident, is on notice, not to mention Gabe Holmes, who spent last season on injured reserve.
What's the risk: Cook, a former third-round pick in 2009, is on his fourth team now, and his production has actually gone down the past two seasons, from 52 catches for 634 yards and three touchdowns in 2014, to 39 catches for 481 yards and no touchdowns in 2015, to 30 catches for 377 yards and one touchdown last season, albeit in 10 games. He is also turning 30 on April 27. Cook's inclusion makes Rivera expendable and Rivera was solid as a pass-catcher and a known quantity, even if he is not as polished as Cook. He made $2.75 million with the Packers last season, so the Raiders had to invest more than that in Cook.