Former NY Jets RB Dalvin Cook still believes he's in his prime (seriously)

Dalvin Cook might be in denial
Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

It can be difficult for a professional athlete to come to terms with the fact that they're no longer the athlete or talent that they used to be. Such appears to be the case with former NY Jets running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook now-infamously signed a one-year contract with the Jets last summer with the hope that he could provide the team with important depth alongside Breece Hall in what appeared to be one of the most talented backfields in the NFL.

Unfortunately, that didn't prove to be the case. Cook was arguably the worst running back in the NFL last season and didn't even make it through a full year before he was released.

Despite his abysmal numbers last season, Cook still believes he's in his prime. The four-time Pro Bowler joined NFL Network'sThe Insiders on Wednesday to give an update on his free-agent status ahead of the 2024 season.

Cook claims to be weighing his opportunities in search of a perfect landing spot, while also boldly insisting that "Dalvin is still Dalvin." He addressed claims of being "washed," while suggesting that he can still "make a backfield electric."

While that would be nice, it's unfortunately not reality.

NY Jets fans know just how washed Dalvin Cook is

In reality, Cook had already shown significant signs of decline before he signed with the Jets last summer. There's a reason the Minnesota Vikings cut bait when they did. Despite his eye-popping box score numbers, Cook's efficiency numbers plummeted in his final season in Minnesota.

Cook ranked dead-last among all NFL running backs in RYOE (rushing yards over expected) in 2022 — a clear sign that he wasn't the player he once was. The tape of his final year with the Vikings paints a very similar picture. He wasn't nearly as explosive as he was in his prime.

Despite this, the Jets fell for fool's gold and believed they were still signing a very capable running back to pair with their young star. Instead, Cook's decline continued as he posted abysmal numbers across the board.

Cook averaged just 3.2 yards per carry in 15 games with the Jets while finishing with a league-worst RYOE per carry. This time the box score numbers caught up to the analytics, as they tend to do. Cook was washed, and it was painfully obvious for all to see.

Combine his sudden lack of explosiveness with persistent drop and fumble issues and you have a running back who likely isn't even rosterable at this stage. NFL teams seem to be aware of that.

Barring an unforeseen glitch in the space-time continuum or a sudden de-aging process, Dalvin Cook won't be returning to prime Dalvin Cook at any point in the future. This PR tour isn't fooling anyone.