The Jets-Dalvin Cook front has been mostly quiet following the Pro Bowl running back’s visit to Florham Park in late July.
That was until Monday night’s bombshell, however.
NFL Network, first on the news, reports the Jets will sign Cook to a one-year deal. ESPN subsequently adds the contract is worth up to $8.6 million.
Cook always wanted to land in New York. Now he teams up with former NFC North rival Aaron Rodgers, with all eyes on a Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/6wlXhYPXIc
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 14, 2023
Free-agent RB Dalvin Cook is planning to sign a one-year deal worth up to $8.6 million with the New York Jets, per source. pic.twitter.com/SU95TqaQL4
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 14, 2023
With Breece Hall returning from an ACL tear and Aaron Rodgers now in town, the Jets’ offense is clearly gearing up for a Super Bowl-caliber year by bringing in Cook, one of the league’s more talented runners.
But just like most other moves, this one comes with its pros and cons. This isn’t a perfect move by any means, nor was it ever truly an obvious one for general manager Joe Douglas and Co.
The upside. Cook is still a multi-faceted back who’s rushed for over 1,100 yards in four straight seasons and has caught at least 34 balls every year during the same span. And it’s clear he can be just another talented weapon to make life easier for Rodgers and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
It also gives the Jets some breathing room in the wake of Hall’s return. The second-year back, who figures to be a big part of the offense again when healthy, is still on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and it’s unclear when he’ll return to practice. There’s a legitimate chance he won’t be 100% for the start of the regular season, so this buys the Jets some time in that department.
It’s also only a one-year deal for Cook, so it’s not like Douglas is making a desperate multi-year commitment for a running back.
The downside. The Jets didn’t necessarily need to spend upwards of $9 million on a position that’s decreased in value, especially when Cook wasn’t exactly a legitimate need for Gang Green. Even if Rodgers did recently take a $35 million paycut to provide the Jets with financial flexibility, there were other spots the team could’ve focused on adding to (whether it be offensive tackle, wide receiver, safety, etc.). Or the team could’ve held out for a trade-deadline move for a wideout.
Cook’s a great player, sure. But this move wasn’t needed, as it would’ve been more financially competent to retain Hall, Michael Carter, and Israel Abanikanda, all players on cheap, non-first-round rookie contracts.
But, the championship window is indeed short — Rodgers isn’t getting any younger. So if Douglas feels the need to pull out all the stops, including giving Cook this contract, then so be it.