Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez take a critical view of the Lions’ 2018 season and this staff, and discuss reasons to believe in 2019, Dec. 31, 2018.
Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press

Connor Cook is getting another chance in the NFL, this one with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions signed Cook, the former Michigan State football quarterback, to a reserve futures contract on Tuesday.

Cook will spend the offseason with the Lions, though the team is expected to bring in competition to be Matthew Stafford’s backup, both perhaps in the form of a veteran and a rookie draft pick.

A fourth-round pick out of MSU in 2016, Cook has had a nondescript NFL career after once being projected as a first-round draft pick.

He appeared in one regular season game for the Oakland Raiders in 2016 and started a playoff game for the team that season after an injury to Derek Carr. Cook completed just 18 of 45 passes for 161 yards and threw three interceptions in that game, a 27-14 loss to the Houston Texans.

Cook spent the entire 2017 season with the Raiders but did not appear in a game, and he was released by Oakland despite a solid preseason last September after the team traded for A.J. McCarron.

The Lions saw Cook up close last August when they spent two days in training camp practicing against the Raiders.

“Connor’s been awesome,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said during joint practices. “He’s definitely more vocal now, especially with the groups that he’s going with. Obviously when I go with the ones, we have our way and we have our intensity and those things, and you see when E.J. (Manuel) and Connor go, the intensity level doesn’t change. … I think he’s becoming a really good player and I think that the future’s really bright for Connor, I really do.”

Cook spent his time this season on the practice squads for the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals.

He essentially takes the roster spot of Jake Rudock, who spent most of the past three seasons on the Lions’ practice squad.

Stafford, who’s coming off his worst statistical season since 2010, will be in the second year of a five-year, $135 million contract for the Lions next fall.

Lions coach Matt Patricia has said repeatedly that Stafford remains his quarterback for 2019, and the team has a decision to make on whether to bring back veteran backup Matt Cassel.

“He’s our quarterback and I’m excited and happy that he is,” Patricia said of Stafford.

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