Jared Cook is an upcoming free agent in 2019, and Cincinnati might just be a perfect fit, given their current tight end situation.
The Bengals rarely do anything impactful in free agency. However, the hiring of a young fresh face in Zac Taylor as head coach may signal a change in philosophy in more ways than one.
There is one free agent out there who would look particularly good in orange and black. Jared Cook has posted career highs in catches each of the last two seasons as Raiders tight end as well as hauling in 122 total catches in that span.
Every team that reached the conference title games last year has at least three viable pass-catching threats. With A.J. Green a lock to put up 1000-yard seasons as long as he plays anything close to a full one and Tyler Boyd emerging to catch 76 balls last year, Cincinnati has two.
However, with three tight ends in free agency and John Ross struggling to find his NFL pass catching sea legs, the rest of the roster is super thin in terms of pass catchers.
There is some sentiment to bring the often injured but super talented tight end Tyler Eifert back to the Bengals, possibly on a one-year deal for the second straight year. The former first-round pick caught 13 touchdowns in 2015 but has been limited to just 14 games since.
One of the biggest reasons the Bengals season fell apart last year was injuries. There isn’t much that can be done to combat that, but one way is to get rid of guys that get hurt all the time and replace them with guys that don’t. The NFL is unfair sometimes. Cook can give Cincinnati comparable production to Eifert while negating his biggest issue. Cook has been in the NFL since 2009 and has never played in fewer than ten games in a season.
Yes, the Bengals defense needs much more help than the offense, but even if that unit improves, it isn’t going to go from giving up 413 yards per game to a strength in one offseason. So, Cincinnati needs to accentuate its stronger side of the ball. Cook is the quickest, most surefire, and most realistic way to do that.
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