When Dalvin Cook is officially released by the Minnesota Vikings this week, the New York Jets should immediately be in on the free agent running back. But just because they landed Aaron Rodgers this offseason doesn’t mean the Jets are perfect fit to reel in Cook.
New York certainly is an intriguing destination for the four-time Pro Bowler. The Jets have high expectations, a team on the rise that features a talented young roster, top-five defense and charismatic coach in Robert Saleh. With Rodgers now at quarterback, they are a popular pick to reach the Super Bowl, something they haven’t done since 1969.
Rodgers has energized the Jets. And he’s changed the perception of the downtrodden organization. The Jets haven’t made the playoffs in 12 seasons yet will be featured in five primetime games this season, including the Week 1 Monday Night Football opener against the Buffalo Bills.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) June 8, 2023
You’d think those factors, plus the chance to shine under the Broadway spotlight, would be of interest to Cook.
That said, let's examine why the Jets are not a perfect fit for Dalvin Cook after his Vikings release.
Free agency is typically about money. Simply, the Jets won’t be able to offer Cook the most money, neither in average per year nor in guaranteed dollars. In fact, the Jets are tight against the salary cap and still working with veteran players to restructure their contracts so that they can properly rework Rodgers’ contract. Cook would have to be willing to take less than top dollar to come to New York.
Role in the offense
Would Cook be willing to accept a lesser role in the offense along with making less money? Likely not. He’s been top dog in Minnesota, rushing for more than 1,100 yards in each of his past four seasons. The Jets love second-year pro Breece Hall, their exciting home run threat and No. 1 back.
Though he’s coming off a torn ACL, Hall is expected to be ready for Week 1. That means at best Hall and Cook would split carries. That feels like a luxury and not one Cook, at 28, would be enthused about.
Breece Hall 👀 pic.twitter.com/GiYanebDB0
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) June 6, 2023
Finally, if Cook were to come to the AFC East, the Jets might be down on his list of suitors. He’s a Miami native, attended Florida State in college and has spoken often of his love for the area. Plus, word is the Dolphins will pursue Cook heavily.
And if not the Dolphins, then how about the Bills, where his younger brother, James Cook, also plays running back? Going back to the first point about money, if Cook were to take less of it, wouldn’t he do so to play with his brother in Buffalo or to be back home in Miami instead of accepting less from New York?
The Jets need to fire their best shot with Cook because they’re in win-now mode and he’d form an elite top pair with Hall at running back. But right now, the Jets are not the perfect fit for Cook and an unlikely landing spot for the star back.