NY Jets signing Ezekiel Elliott instead of Dalvin Cook would be an egregious mistake

The Jets need to prioritize one veteran running back
NY Jets, Ezekiel Elliott
NY Jets, Ezekiel Elliott / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The NY Jets haven't exactly done a great job of downplaying their rumored interest in adding one more running back, as they have been at the front of the pack for Dalvin Cook for the last month. In a stunning twist of fate, Ezekiel Elliott has jumped into the Jets rumor mill.

With the Cowboys releasing the overpriced running back after Tony Pollard emerged as a younger, more electric alternative, Elliott has been looking for his next destination. While he has lost a step, Elliott is still a terrific short-yardage back, touchdown scorer, and blocker.

The Jets are reportedly keeping a very watchful eye on Elliott, with the rival Patriots and his old team in Dallas also spying on him very closely. If Cook and Elliott are both out there competing for New York's interest, the choice should not require that much hard thinking from Joe Douglas.

If the Jets are intent on adding one more veteran running back to their mix before the start of the season, Cook makes too much sense for the team. Elliott has brand recognition, but does he have the skills?

NY Jets must pursue Dalvin Cook over Ezekiel Elliott

Where Cook has the edge over Elliott is his big-play ability. Cook can still reel off 50-yard runs if he hits a hole, while Elliott's value lies in his ability to take one cut and slam into a line of defenders. Cook is also a better receiver than a guy who only caught 17 passes last season.

Cook can lean on the excuse of playing behind a terrible offensive line last season, while Elliott had an elite guard in Zack Martin and better depth around him. From a schematic point of view, Cook seems like a more natural fit in a Shanahan-adjacent West Coast attack that Nathaniel Hackett will run.

The Jets will once again lean on Breece Hall whenever he is healthy, but giving a back coming off a serious knee injury 300 carries might be putting too much on his place. When he needs a break, an explosive runner like Cook might appeal to Aaron Rodgers more than a slower sledgehammer like Elliott.

While Elliott is still a better running back than Michael Carter or anyone behind him on the Jets' depth chart, his decline has been sharper and more evident than what Cook went through last year in Minnesota. While Hall will still be the bell cow, the Jets might need to bring in a veteran to take this group to the next level.