ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Surely, Jared Cook was jesting.
The newest member of the Oakland Raiders was asked on a conference call with Bay Area reporters how attached he was to the jersey number he’s worn since coming into the NFL as a third-round draft pick in 2009. Amari Cooper already owns No. 89 in Oakland.
“Me and him are going to have to have a little conversation to see if I can get it off of him,” Cook said. “I might have to bribe him a little bit, throw him like five bucks or something to see if I can get it off his back.”
Cook laughed, as did the reporters on the call. But his joining the Raiders was far from a laughing matter. The eight-year veteran gives Oakland an upgrade as a pass-catching tight end after he bonded with quarterback Derek Carr during his visit.
The two watched film and clicked immediately.
“Love the kid, man; he’s cool,” Cook said. “He’s a real down-to-earth guy. I enjoy talking with him about the offensive system and different plays that they run and how they see me fitting in this offense.”
“Just another weapon for Derek to use,” Cook said. “Just to be able to stretch the field, be able to beat one-on-one matchups, be able to get down into the secondary at a fast pace, be able to create separation off of different routes.
“When I’m coming out of my breaks, just a different radius that it gives him. A different element to put the ball in places and just keep chains moving.”
Raiders tight ends combined for 581 receiving yards last season. Cook had 377 yards receiving on 30 catches in the regular season and 18 catches on 31 targets for 229 yards in the postseason for the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s a positive and a forward-thinking moving team that [is] bringing pieces in that are going to help this team out,” Cook said of the Raiders. “It has a great defense, which is huge -- great defense, great offensive line, which is huge. It has great receivers in place already. So they have the pieces that are in play, and they already had success in recent years.
“To be a part of that and to join a team that is on the up and up is a big plus.”
The Raiders are coming off a 12-4 season and their first playoff appearance since the 2002 season. They had a league-high seven Pro Bowl selections, a quarterback that finished tied for third in league MVP voting, the Defensive Player of the Year in edge rusher Khalil Mack and the NFL Executive of the Year in general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Oakland still has holes to fill with nine free agents leaving and the Raiders adding three offensive players in Cook, receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse. The Raiders are closing in on a deal with backup quarterback EJ Manuel.
So I asked Cook his thoughts on Adrian Peterson, whom Cook played with in the NFC North last season.
“The way he runs the ball with aggression and anger, it’s almost like he has a chip on his shoulder, like he’s out to prove something, and he’s ran like that for years, man,” Cook said. “I feel like he fits the description of a Raider, and I think he’d fit in perfect here.
“To see him in a Raiders jersey, I think would be pretty awesome.”
At least Peterson would not have to barter for his No. 28. That’s the number Murray wore.