BOSTON (CBS) — With NFL free agency officially underway, the Patriots are reportedly looking into signing a veteran tight end.

Ian Rapoport seemed to indicated Wednesday on NFL Network that the Patriots have at least made a phone call or two about Jared Cook, the veteran tight end who most recently played for the Raiders.

Rapoport mentioned the Patriots as a contender to sign Cook, as part of a larger conversation about Rob Gronkowski’s playing status for 2019. That’s been a major topic for more than a month now, but it’s been thrown into overdrive after Willie McGinest suggested Gronkowski may essentially skip half the season in 2019 before re-joining the Patriots.

Rapoport, though, said the Patriots are “at least tentatively planning” on Gronkowski playing in 2019. The way Rapoport put it, the Patriots believe there’s a better chance of Gronkowski returning instead of retiring.

As for Cook, the 31-year-old is coming off a season with Oakland where he set a new career high with six touchdowns. Overall he caught 68 passes for 896 yards. In his 10-year career with the Titans, Rams, Packers and Raiders, he has caught 425 passes for 5,464 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Rapoport didn’t necessarily expound upon the Patriots’ interest in Cook, just noting, “I know [the Patriots have] been kind of in the tight end market a little bit over the course of the past couple of days.”


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