The New Orleans Saints have quietly been locking down some of their own players with the start of free agency, but they are willing to spend a little money elsewhere too. They’ve already gone out and signed running back Latavius Murray while allowing Mark Ingram to walk, but they need help at another offensive position. On Thursday, they will get the chance to improve at tight end when Oakland Raiders free agent Jared Cook visits the team.
It’s no surprise that the New Orleans Saints offense is extremely explosive. But there are some things that could actually make it better. Head coach Sean Payton is hoping that Murray can add an extra step to the offensive backfield, but the Saints could really use some help in the receiving department.
Last year, Michael Thomas drew double team after double team which had the Saints going with undrafted free agents and a host of other receivers. One place that they could have given Thomas some help would have been at tight end, but it just wasn’t really there.
Their top tight end last season was Benjamin Watson who retired after the 2018 season, and that leaves New Orleans incredibly thin there. The good news is that the visit from Jared Cook on Thursday means a Pro Bowler from last season is coming to town, per Ian Rapoport.
Last season, the Saints had 381 total receptions from Drew Brees and others on the roster. Eighty-nine of those receptions were by tight ends with 46 of them by Watson, and those are gone. The Saints do have Josh Hill and Dan Arnold on the roster, but they’d like someone with a bit more NFL experience at the position.
In 2018, Jared Cook had an incredible season with six touchdowns and 896 yards on 68 receptions. The Saints would love to bring in that kind of productivity from the tight end position, and it wouldn’t hurt that Drew Brees would be throwing to him either.
If New Orleans is going to land Cook, though, they’re going to have to be quite impressive as they aren’t the only ones showing interest.
With the status of tight end Rob Gronkowski still not entirely known for next year, the New England Patriots are coming up with a back-up plan. They want to be fully prepared if Gronk doesn’t come back and that is why they are looking at Jared Cook as well, per Clutch Points.
As of this time, Jared Cook only has a visit scheduled with the New Orleans Saints and that is on Thursday. The Patriots are interested but haven’t yet opened up any lines of communication with the Pro Bowl tight end. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders are monitoring the situation as bringing him back is not out of the question either.