The NY Jets agreed to mutually part ways with running back Dalvin Cook on Tuesday, allowing him the opportunity to sign with a playoff contender ahead of the postseason.
Cook wasted little time agreeing to a deal to join the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad shortly after clearing waivers on Thursday. The Ravens hope that Cook can provide additional running back depth as they enter the playoffs.
However, if recent history is anything to go on, the Ravens shouldn't be expecting much from Cook. There's a reason the Jets released Cook and relegated him to the bench in recent weeks — he's washed.
That isn't meant as some derogatory insult about a player who has had an excellent NFL career. It's just the reality of Cook's situation in the year 2024. He's a shell of the player he used to be.
Dalvin Cook was a disaster for the NY Jets this season
When the Jets signed Cook to a one-year, $7 million contract this summer, they hoped he would alleviate some of the early workload from Breece Hall and help form one of the most talented running back rooms in the NFL.
Anyone who watched Cook play in 2022, however, would have known better. Despite Cook's gaudy box score numbers and fourth consecutive Pro Bowl nod, his 2022 season was riddled with red flags. The decline had started.
Cook finished dead last in the entire NFL in RYOE (rushing yards over expected), and Vikings fans will be the first to tell you that he lost a considerable step. It was only natural that Cook's decline would continue in 2023 with the Jets.
And boy did it.
Cook's 3.2 yards per carry ranks last among all qualified running backs, while he again ranks dead last in RYOE per carry. There isn't a running back in the NFL that has been less efficient than Cook this season.
His struggles this season aren't a product of his situation, either. Hall is averaging a healthy 4.4 yards per carry and ranks top-10 among all players in the NFL in total scrimmage yards this season — all just 12 months after tearing his ACL last year.
Hall has thrived in the same situation that Cook has failed in.
It's not a surprise to see an aging running back with over 1,300 career carries (excluding his extensive backfield work in college and high school) decline rapidly. But what differentiates Cook from other aging running backs is that he just doesn't have a role in an NFL offense at this stage of his career.
Ezekiel Elliott is far from the player he used to be, but he's still effective in short-yardage situations and can double as a good pass-blocker and receiver. Cook doesn't offer any of that.
The four-time Pro Bowler has never been a particularly strong pass blocker. He's struggled with drops and fumbles throughout his career. He's historically been bad in short-yardage situations.
Cook was one of the best running backs in the world at his peak because of his explosiveness and big-play ability. It helped mask his other flaws as a running back. Now, all of that is gone, and the end result is a player who just shouldn't be on the field for an NFL team in 2024.
The Ravens already have their big-play threat in Justice Hill. They have their bruising short-yardage back in Gus Edwards. Heck, even Melvin Gordon offers a lot more as a third-down/pass-blocking back than Cook does. Cook adds nothing to their offense.
Of course, the Ravens only added Cook to their practice squad, so it's possible (likely?) he never actually plays in a game for the team. That's probably what Ravens fans should be hoping for.
You can distract yourself with old highlights of Cook's glory days at Florida State and in Minnesota. That doesn't change the fact that he just doesn't have a role in an NFL offense in the present day. Dalvin is (and has been) completely cooked.