Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that Cook has signed with the Saints, Rod Walker of The New Orleans Advocate reports. The deal has been in the works since last week, but neither team nor player had confirmed the signing prior to Payton's comment Tuesday morning. Coming off the best statistical year of his career, Cook will head to New Orleans for his age-32 season, presumably serving as the third or fourth option in a passing attack led by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. With Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara dominating volume, the Saints only sent 89 targets to their tight ends last season, including 46 to the now-retired Ben Watson. There's a good chance the position becomes a larger part of the passing game with Cook getting the majority of playing time, though he shouldn't need a ton of targets to establish fantasy value while playing with an elite quarterback in a dome.
Cook is expected to sign with the Saints, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Cook left New Orleans unsigned after visiting with the team last week. While it isn't clear if the tight end has visited other potential suitors since then, it's becoming clear the tight end has decided on the Saints to continue his playing career. Should Cook ultimately put pen to paper, he'll provide Drew Brees with a nice upgrade at the tight end position -- at least from a receiving perspective.
Cook remains unsigned after visiting with the Saints last week, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic reports. While no other visits have been reported, Cook surely is drawing interest from multiple teams as the top tight end on the market. A return to Oakland also would make sense given that the Raiders haven't lined up a replacement. Heading into his age-32 season, Cook should sign a contract soon enough.
Cook will visit with the Saints on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Cook proved that he had plenty to give in two campaigns with the Raiders. Overall, he totaled 122 catches (on 187 targets) for 1,584 yards and eight touchdowns in 32 games. Tight end is a need in New Orleans following the retirement of Ben Watson, so if Cook does land a contract in the coming days, the soon-to-be 32-year-old would benefit in the upgrade from Derek Carr to Drew Brees.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he would like to re-sign Cook this offseason, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Gruden also acknowledged the market will be competitive after the 31-year-old tight end finally came through with his long-awaited breakout season. Cook caught 68 of 101 targets for 896 yards and six touchdowns in 2018, producing his second-best mark for yards per target (8.9) in addition to career-high counting stats across the board. Cook easily tops the class of impending free agents at tight end, though he could have some competition once teams release overpriced veterans. He'll turn 32 in April and doesn't exactly have the best reputation for consistency or blocking.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||@Los Angeles Rams||23||7.89|
|5||10/06||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||7.88|
|11||11/17||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||7.88|
|14||12/08||San Francisco 49ers||4||4.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||79||51||654||3||33||12.82||81|