Jets’ Dalvin Cook Seeking Trade; Carl Lawson Eyeing Larger Role

While veteran additions highlighted the Jets’ offseason plan, their Aaron Rodgers-centered blueprint quickly changed. Although the future Hall of Fame quarterback has not given up hope of returning late this season and is under contract through 2024, some of the vets the Jets eyed as complementary pieces this year do not presently possess notable roles.

The Jets already traded Mecole Hardman because of the speed merchant’s reduced playing time, and Dalvin Cook is seeking to follow him out the door. Going from a free agent linked to a few teams to an afterthought, Cook said (via’s Rich Cimini) he is planning to approach GM Joe Douglas about a trade. Cook’s name has already come up in trade rumors, with a recent report indicating the Jets would be fine with moving him.

It’s something I can’t control, that my name is being floated around in trade rumors,” Cook said, via Cimini. “It might be a good thing. Maybe [it’s] a bad thing.”

The Vikings attempted to trade Cook for weeks before releasing him in May. The Dolphins had discussed a trade with the Vikings, but Cook ended up spending several weeks in free agency. Connected to Miami and New England, Cook instead ended up in New York, with Rodgers playing a key part in bringing the former Pro Bowler to town. Cook, who is tied to a one-year deal worth $7MM, entered the season as the only back who had surpassed 1,100 rushing yards in each of the past four seasons. Through six Jets games, he has 109 yards on 39 carries. Breece Hall‘s return from an October 2022 ACL tear has marginalized Cook, whose 2.8-yard average ranks last out of qualified backs this season.

Cook said he expected more responsibilities with the Jets, per Cimini. After an 11-touch Week 4, Cook has combined for 16 over the past three games. Of course, Cook’s performance will not make him an appealing trade piece. Austin Ekeler pushed for a Chargers exit this year and was not believed to have generated much interest. Derrick Henry‘s name has resurfaced in pre-deadline rumors, but teams appear to be angling for the Titans to eat a chunk of his salary. Even with Cook not being attached to the lucrative Vikes contract, his production would not stand to generate much trade interest.

The Jets are still giving Cook reps; Carl Lawson was a healthy scratch in Week 5. The Jets have gone from giving the ex-Bengal a three-year, $45MM contract ahead of Robert Saleh‘s first season to burying the former big-ticket free agent on their defensive line depth chart. Connected to trade rumors along with Hardman last week, Lawson confirmed he would be interested in being dealt to a team that would use him more frequently.

I definitely want to play and contribute. I know I can; I’ve proven that,” Lawson said. “Yeah, I always want to contribute, but right now I’m with the Jets, but I definitely want to play more. I definitely want to do what I did last year. … I’m a football player, not a cheerleader.”

Lawson, 28, accepted a pay cut this offseason but is still attached to a $6MM salary. The Jets turning him from starter to bench stash has also obviously dented his trade appeal. Lawson’s seven sacks and 24 QB hits played a major role in helping the Jets go from 32nd to fourth in scoring defense last season. Now two years removed from the Achilles tear that wiped out his 2021 season, the former third-round pick has not factored in prominently thus far this year. This surprising contract-year demotion also stands to impact his 2024 free agency value.

Looming as a franchise tag candidate in Cincinnati two years ago, Lawson has seen his career hit a crossroads. He will have a much better chance of earning another noteworthy contract next year than Cook will, but the Jets will likely continue to see if any trade materializes for either first.

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