Should win-now Jets add Dalvin Cook to their crowded backfield?

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — With eight phrases, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh unwittingly sparked intense fan and media hypothesis with regard to potential curiosity in free agent operating again Dalvin Cook.

“We’ll flip the stones over on that one,” Saleh stated not too long ago.

From all indications, the Jets have maintained a stage of curiosity in Cook dinner. How a lot is unclear. In search of clues, perceptive followers seen that staff proprietor Woody Johnson not too long ago on Twitter began following Cook dinner — the one non-Jets participant (previous or current) on his observe checklist. Hmm.

With 39-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgersthe Jets consider they’ve a one- or two-year championship window. They’ve a gifted operating again in Breece Hallhowever he’s solely 9 months faraway from ACL surgical procedure on his left knee. Whereas the staff expects Corridor to be prepared for Week 1, it would make sense to buy an costly insurance coverage coverage.

“Lots of people received me pegged going again house [to Miami, and playing with the Dolphins]and lots of people received me going to the Jets,” Cook dinner stated final week on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “It is far and wide proper now. However what is going on to be vital for me is simply going to that proper scenario and serving to any individual flip the web page.

“I need to go and be the piece that may simply assist any individual win and recover from the hump, and no matter that scenario comes with — if it comes with me taking much less reps however me being within the excellent scenario to carry up that trophy — I do not thoughts.”

Let’s take a better have a look at Cook dinner’s potential match with the Jets:

How would Cook dinner slot in with Rodgers and Nathaniel Hackett’s offense?

So far as we all know, Cook dinner’s title does not seem on a Rodgers “want checklist,” however that does not imply Cook dinner would not be welcomed by the brand new QB1. Rodgers is aware of what expertise appears to be like like, and he has seen loads of Cook dinner within the NFC North.

In 9 video games towards the Green Bay Packersthe previous Minnesota Vikings star rushed for 650 yards, 4.6 per carry and 7 touchdowns. Two of his high 5 profession dashing video games (163 and 154 yards) got here towards the Pack. Rodgers got here to the Jets with one aim — win a Tremendous Bowl — and you may guess he needs the staff to do every thing it might to maximise the chance.

Schematically, Cook dinner could be a pleasant match. In Hackett’s West Coast-style offense, the Jets will use an out of doors zone dashing scheme — that’s, “stretch” performs that require the operating again to speed up upfield as quickly as he spots a crease.

Cook dinner stated the skin zone is “an ideal match” for him. It ought to be famous, nevertheless, that he made that remark in relation to the Dolphins, considered a suitor.

The Jets have huge plans for his or her dashing assault. As a defensive-minded coach, Saleh believes in operating the soccer. Hackett’s most profitable seasons as a coordinator got here with high-powered floor assaults. They are not going to bail on the operating recreation simply because they’ve a future Corridor of Famer at quarterback.

Regardless that the league has gone go wild, Keith Carter, the brand new offensive line coach and run recreation coordinator, stated, “I do consider there’s a component the place you may nonetheless run the ball on this league.”

Is Cook dinner nonetheless an elite operating again?

That is the place it will get tough.

Cook dinner and Nick Chubb are the one two operating backs with no less than 1,000 dashing yards in every of the previous 4 seasons, however take a better have a look at Cook dinner’s metrics. He’s on a two-year decline.

Since 2020, his yards per rush have gone from 5.0 to 4.7 to 4.4. His dashing yards over anticipated has slipped from 171 to 40 to -21, in response to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats. His success price, which takes into consideration down and distance on every rush, has dropped from 48% to 42% to 36%.

Cook dinner will flip 28 on Aug. 10, sometimes an age when high-volume operating backs begin to put on down. Think about: In 2022, solely three backs within the 28-and-over class rushed for 500 yards — Derrick Henry, Latavius Murray and Raheem Mostert.

Little question, Jets basic supervisor Joe Douglas is conscious of the analytics. Whereas Cook dinner nonetheless could be an improve over secondary backs Michael Carter, Zonovan Knight and rookie Israel AbanikandaDouglas should determine if the hole is massive sufficient to warrant a big contract for a participant who seems to be on the draw back.

What about Cook dinner’s well being?

Cook dinner began each recreation final season for the primary time in his profession, however he performed with a continual shoulder harm that required surgical procedure in February. A torn labrum was repaired; his restoration reportedly goes nicely.

“It’s going to be a giant distinction, man, not simply it being in my head anymore, simply me going and enjoying soccer and being me,” Cook dinner stated not too long ago on the Adam Schefter podcast. “For those who’s going via, like, an identical scenario, you need to get your shoulder finished or not, it’s all the time behind your head once you take any carry. Whenever you get the ball, it’s all the time in your head, like, ‘My shoulder may probably come out.’”

Cook dinner, affected by shoulder points since his school days at Florida State, suffered a dislocation final season in Week 3 however performed via it and opted to get it mounted. Will he be 100% wholesome by the beginning of the season? That is a key query for the Jets.

Can the Jets afford him?

From a wage cap standpoint, sure, they’ll. They’ve $23 million in cap house, in response to NFL Gamers Affiliation information, which supplies them loads of flexibility relative to the remainder of the league. Maybe a greater query could be, do they need to splurge for a operating again?

The place has been devalued in recent times. It is one of many causes the Vikings decided to move on from Cook. Regardless of a powerful résumé — Henry and Chubb are the one two gamers with extra dashing yards than Cook dinner over the previous 4 years — Cook dinner received a pink slip as a result of the Vikings did not need to pay his $11 million wage.

Douglas falls consistent with the remainder of the league in terms of paying operating backs. In 4 years, he by no means has handed out a contract price greater than $2.3 million per yr (Corridor’s rookie deal). Sure, the Jets did have Le’Veon Bell for 2019 and a part of 2020 at $13.1 million per yr, however Douglas inherited that onerous contract from the earlier administration.

Cook dinner reportedly is seeking near $10 million per yr, however the assured cash is what counts essentially the most. Miles Sanders (Carolina Panthers) and David Montgomery (Detroit Lions) obtained $13 million and $8.75 million, respectively, in ensures on contracts signed this offseason. Cook dinner has a greater physique of labor than they do, however he’s two years older than Sanders and Montgomery, and groups have much less cash to spend in June and July.

It most likely is sensible to attend till July 17, the deadline for signing franchise-tagged gamers. Cook dinner may achieve negotiating leverage if a number of of the tagged operating backs — Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs or Tony Pollard — lands a long-term deal earlier than the deadline.

How would Cook dinner’s signing have an effect on Quinnen Williams?

The Jets can afford each in regard to the cap, however a Cook dinner deal would ship a combined message.

Whereas it might be hailed as one other instance of the group being all-in for 2023, it additionally might be perceived as a slight towards Williams — one of many Jets’ few homegrown stars.

The Jets are deep into negotiations with the All-Professional defensive deal with on a long-term extension, with Saleh saying he expects a deal to get finished by coaching camp. If Cooks will get paid earlier than camp and Williams does not, it could immediate the query: What about taking good care of your personal?

What does this imply for Corridor?

The Jets are optimistic about Corridor’s possibilities for Week 1, in response to Saleh, however ACL accidents are exhausting to foretell. Whereas he might be cleared to play, it is exhausting to say when he’ll recapture the shape that allowed him to common 5.8 yards per carry as a rookie. It is sensible to ease him in, which implies they want a powerful RB2 to assist them navigate a troublesome early schedule.

Can they depend on Carter and Knight, each of whom averaged solely 3.5 yards per rush? Is Abanikanda prepared for a key position? These are questions Douglas & Co. will mull over the following few weeks.


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Revealed : 2023-06-28 12:24:00

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