Jets To Sign RB Dalvin Cook

Shortly after the Patriots reached a deal with Ezekiel Elliott, the Jets will finalize an agreement with their long-rumored target. Dalvin Cook agreed to a one-year deal with the Jets on Monday, Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of report.

This wraps a long-running saga for Cook, who has been a free agent for several weeks now. The Jets had loomed as a Cook suitor for most of this span, and while the former Vikings Pro Bowler had been closely connected to his hometown Dolphins, the Jets were the only team to bring him in for a visit. That meeting has eventually produced a deal.

In terms of base value, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio adds this agreement will be worth $7MM (Twitter link). The contract will be worth a maximum of $8.6MM,’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Midway through the Jets’ preseason slate, Cook will sign on with the rising team. Aaron Rodgerspay-cut agreement will lead to a high-profile weapon signing on, with the Jets securing an elite Breece Hall insurance option.

While the Dolphins had talked terms with Cook, Jeremy Fowler of adds they were never on this level. The Vikings will also benefit, with a $2MM offset in place, per’s Kevin Seifert (Twitter links). Despite not having a locked-in starter option on Hall’s level, the Dolphins had viewed Cook as a luxury. Mike McDaniel‘s team will stand pat with its re-signed duo of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, along with third-round rookie Devon Achane.

Even though the Dolphins were the only known team to discuss a Cook trade with the Vikings, they are standing down. Additionally, the chance to face the Bills twice was also important to the veteran, per Fowler, with younger brother James Cook set to start for the three-time defending division champs.

The Jets have been bullish on Hall’s chances of returning by Week 1, and the New York Post’s Brian Costello notes this Cook addition does not reflect a change in that stance. Hall is still on track for the opener (Twitter link). The 2022 second-rounder suffered an ACL tear during the Jets’ Week 7 win against the Broncos. Cook’s arrival will allow the Jets to slow-play Hall’s return, and it is also worth wondering what kind of rotation will form during the Iowa State product’s first season back from the injury. Cook’s contract points to a regular role, as opposed to a change-of-pace backup, in his seventh NFL season.

Cook’s deal represents a rare 2023 win for backs. Coming after countless setbacks for the RB market, Cook securing $7MM in base value provides him with a parachute after the Vikings cut bait on his $12.6MM-per-year deal. Prior to Monday, none of this year’s free agent backs secured more than $6.3MM per year. While Miles Sanders did see more guaranteed — on a four-year Panthers agreement — the Jets are giving Cook upper-middle-class money on a one-year accord to help their 2023 Super Bowl push.

The Patriots gave Elliott $4MM guaranteed, which is also more than a few starter-caliber backs — including Mostert and Wilson — received this year. Neither Mostert nor Wilson landed $3MM locked in, but the Jets placed a high value on Cook, who will leapfrog the likes of Zonovan Knight and Michael Carter upon signing. The Pats pursued Cook as well, and Kareem Hunt has now visited three teams. But the Jets were not believed to have been interested in the non-Cook wing of free agent backs.

Going into his age-28 season, Cook is riding the NFL’s only active streak of four straight 1,100-yard rushing slates. He has also been an effective receiver at points, though the Vikings did not utilize him in this capacity consistently. The Vikings viewed the explosive back’s contract, which had been agreed to just before the 2020 season, as a luxury they could no longer afford. Minnesota instead re-signed Alexander Mattison to a two-year, $7MM deal that is almost entirely guaranteed. As the Vikings joined other NFL teams in skimping on RB costs, the Jets now have one of this era’s better backs supplementing a recent second-rounder.

While Cook is set to give the Jets a Hall security blanket, ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes (via Twitter) he will not practice immediately. Cook underwent shoulder surgery — to fix an issue that had lingered for multiple seasons — in February. But the standout back has never been mentioned as a candidate to miss time because of the procedure. His signing delay and the additional time off needed will allow Cook to skip training camp. Though, it should be expected Cook will be the subject of a few Liev Schreiber-voiced sentences before this year’s Hard Knocks concludes.

Cook helped the Vikings to two playoff berths in this span, giving Kirk Cousins an upper-crust option on which to lean. Rodgers had a strong RB duo in recent years as well, with AJ Dillon joining Aaron Jones over the past three seasons. Should Hall regain his rookie-year form at some point in 2023, Rodgers will once again have a top-end RB duo in place. The Jets have some questions up front, but Cook loads up a skill-position corps that also features Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman and Corey Davis. Once a rumored cap casualty, Davis remains with the Jets on the three-year deal he signed in 2021. The Jets turned the Quinnen Williams extension into cap space, with Rodgers agreeing to trim his guarantee total in order to help fit in vets like Cook.

The Jets would still have the option of placing Hall on the reserve/PUP list, which would allow him an onramp — in the form of a four-game absence — into his second season. That would be a bit of a surprise, though, even considering Cook’s $7MM payment. But after a highly publicized free agency stay, Cook has joined an expected contender and will have a chance to make an impact alongside Rodgers.

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