Like most players on the team’s offense, Jets running back Dalvin Cook is slogging through a disappointing 2023 campaign. In 11 games, he has recorded just 50 carries and is averaging a meager 3.2 yards per carry, which is by far a career-worst mark.
For what it’s worth, Cook was not hoping to be traded at the deadline — it sounds as if he did not generate much interest anyway — and will not ask for his release or for more carries, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Although Cook presumably would prefer to catch on with a legitimate contender and would likely clear waivers and become a free agent if the Jets were to cut him, he says that his family has settled in New Jersey.
That said, he is frustrated about his usage. “For any guy that has produced in this league, it’s frustrating,” Cook said. “You want to be productive. I was hoping just to be in the right situation for me. Like I said, I want an opportunity. I feel great. My body is ready to roll. I was just hoping for a great opportunity.”
Cimini points out that Cook, who saw just one carry last week and two the week before, has at least looked more like his old self of late (41 yards on his last seven totes), and that it may make sense to give him a larger role in light of RB1 Breece Hall‘s struggles. Hall (hamstring) and Cook (shoulder) were both dealing with injuries in advance of today’s game against the Falcons, but both are active.
And as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported (video link), the plan was for Cook, who has been “looking better and better in practice,” to see a heavier workload against Atlanta and perhaps to get more carries than he has all season (the 13 carries Cook received in Week 1 represent a season-high). As of the time of this writing, Hall has four carries for two yards in the Falcons matcup, while Cook has three carries for 22 yards.
Barring a late-season explosion, Cook will likely not match the $7MM salary he is earning from the Jets this year on his next contract. The 28-year-old nonetheless has a chance to prove that he is still capable of playing at the level he established during his lengthy tenure with the Vikings — he earned a Pro Bowl nod for four straight seasons from 2019-22 — and to make himself more attractive to RB-needy clubs.