2. Dalvin Cook, RB, NY Jets
Now we get into the signings that were bad ideas from the start. First, we have a former Pro Bowl running back who managed to fool Joe Douglas and the Jets with gaudy box-score numbers and an impressive resume.
Anyone who closely watched Dalvin Cook play football in 2022 would tell you he lost a considerable step. No, Cook wasn't nearly as bad as he's been this season, but the four-time Pro Bowl running back finished dead-last in the NFL in RYOE (rushing yards over expected).
Every advanced analytic out there pointed to Cook's obvious and sharp decline the previous season, which is why it came as little surprise that the Vikings moved on in the offseason. The Jets, however, still believed Cook had something left in the tank.
Unfortunately, banking on an aging running back with over 1,300 career carries magically bouncing back after a down year isn't usually a wise strategy.
Cook has been dreadful for the Jets in 2023, averaging a lowly 3.2 yards per carry. He ranked second-worst among qualified running backs in RYOE/attempt this season before his role diminished to the point that he no longer qualified for the metric.
To make matters worse, Cook has dealt with fumbles, drops, and issues in pass protection — all three of which have plagued him throughout his career. Once Cook lost his explosiveness, he lost any usefulness to an NFL offense.
That sure makes the $7 million cap hit Cook has in 2023 (seventh-highest on the team) look even worse. The Jets could've used that money to address a number of other key needs.
Instead, they spent it on an obviously washed-up running back who should probably (and likely will) be out of the league next year. Talk about a poor use of resources.