NY Jets shouldn't overpay for Dalvin Cook in free agency

NY Jets, Dalvin Cook
NY Jets, Dalvin Cook / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The NY Jets have been connected to a number of high-profile veteran free agents this offseason, and the most recent name joining the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins is Dalvin Cook.

Cook was officially released by the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, and the four-time Pro Bowl running back is expected to garner plenty of interest on the open market. One team that seems interested is the Jets.

KSTP's Darren Wolfson reported earlier in the week that the Jets are "definitely interested" in signing Cook, while head coach Robert Saleh didn't shy away from Cook rumors when talking to reporters on Friday.

Saleh told the media that the Jets will "turn the stones over on" Cook, a stark contrast to his response when asked about Hopkins rumors. It seems clear that the Jets are at least intrigued by the possibility of signing Cook.

However, there will be other interested teams, and the Jets must be wary of overpaying for an aging running back.

The NY Jets should stay away from Dalvin Cook

If the Jets could sign Cook for a relatively cheap $2-3 million contract, that would make sense for the team. Breece Hall is recovering from a torn ACL, and although the team expects him to be ready for Week 1, there's no guarantee he will be given a heavy workload to start the season.

Michael Carter is coming off a disappointing sophomore season, and Zonovan Knight and Israel Abanikanda are mostly unproven. It makes sense for the Jets to explore adding to their running back depth.

The problem is that Cook is likely going to go for more than $2-3 million on the open market. This is despite the fact that he's hardly the player he was in his prime.

While Cook is coming off his fourth consecutive 1,100-yard season (and fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance), pretty much every metric suggests that he isn't nearly as effective as he used to be.

Cook actually ranked dead last among qualified running backs in RYOE (rushing yards over expected) last season. The Vikings' interior offensive line was bad, but that stat suggests Cook was largely to blame for his own inefficiency.

Cook also has more fumbles than any running back in the NFL since 2019, has dealt with serious drop issues, and has a pretty lengthy injury history. Combine that with the fact that he's seemingly lost at least a step or two as a runner, and it's pretty evident that the box score doesn't tell the full story.

Cook is still a capable veteran running back with playoff experience, who also doubles as a rock-solid pass blocker. He has a role on an NFL roster and would still likely be the second-best running back on the Jets.

The issue is that he just won't be worth the price it will take to sign him. If the Jets are dead set on adding a veteran running back, it might make more sense to kick the tires on the likes of Leonard Fournette or even Kareem Hunt for a fraction of the price.

In a perfect world, the Jets would focus their attention (and finances) on signing players like DeAndre Hopkins, John Johnson III, and Kwon Alexander. Instead, they seem more interested in an aging running back with a ton of mileage who will cost more than he's worth.

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Dalvin Cook wouldn't be a bad pickup for the Jets, but given what it's likely going to cost to sign him, the team should look to spend their available funds elsewhere. Let someone else overpay.