New York Jets Sign Free Agent Running Back Dalvin Cook

Posted on: August 14, 2023, 11:53h. 

Last updated on: August 15, 2023, 09:28h.

Veteran running back Dalvin Cook has signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. His new contract could be worth up to $8.6 million based on incentives this upcoming season.

Dalvin Cook
Running back Dalvin Cook, seen here rushing for a first down for the Minnesota Vikings against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, joined the New York Jets in free agency. (Image: AP)

The Minnesota Vikings cut Cook in the offseason to save cap space. He was the top free agent on the open market before he signed with the Jets.

Cook, 28, underwent shoulder surgery in February to repair a torn labrum and won’t be ready to join the Jets until next week.

After the New England Patriots inked running back Ezekiel Elliot to a contract, Kareem Hunt is currently the top running back who has yet to sign with a new team this offseason.

The New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, and Vikings are interested in signing Hunt. The  Saints face depth issues after starting running back Alvin Kamara was suspended for three games, and two backup running backs sustained injuries during the preseason.

Jets Stacked at RB with Cook, Hall, Carter

Cook posted four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Vikings, which earned him four trips to the Pro Bowl. The Jets haven’t had a running back pass the 1,000-yard mark since the 2015 season.

Over the last four seasons, Derrick Henry from the Tennessee Titans is the only running back who averaged more yards from scrimmage (126 yards per game) than Cook’s 111 yards per game.

Cook rushed 264 times for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Vikings. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry while adding 39 receptions and two receiving touchdowns.

Cook’s best season occurred in 2020 despite only appearing in 14 games. He rushed for a career-high 1,557 yards and 16 touchdowns, and averaged 5.0 yards per carry. He also contributed 44 receptions and an additional touchdown.

“Obviously, you don’t want to say no to a great player,” said head coach Robert Saleh. “He’s been a dynamic ball carrier for a very long time.”

The Jets already had a strong backfield with Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and Zonovan Knight on the roster before the addition of Cook. Hall and Knight were rookies last season, and Carter is entering his third season.

Hall was an early favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year before he blew out his ACL against the Denver Broncos. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored touchdowns in four-straight games after becoming the primary running back in Week 4, prior to a season-ending injury in Week 7.

Jets a Popular Pick After Offensive Upgrades

The Jets boasted the fourth-best scoring defense in the NFL last season, allowing only 18.6 points per game. They struggled to score points last season with an underwhelming offense. They averaged only 17.4 points per game as the fourth-lowest scoring offense in the league.

The Jets drastically upgraded their offense when they landed quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. They also signed veteran wide receiver Allen Lazard, who was a trusted former teammate with Rodgers in Green Bay.

The Jets signed speedy wide receiver and kick returner Mecole Hardman, who won two Super Bowls with the Kansas City Chiefs during his first four seasons in the NFL.

The addition of Cook didn’t affect the futures market. The Jets are still +270 odds to win the AFC East as the second favorite on the futures board. They are +1600 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII, and +1000 odds to win their first AFC Championship since the AFL-NFL merger.

The Jets saw an initial bump in their overall futures after Rodgers joined the team. When the first episode of the popular reality series “Hard Knocks” debuted last week on HBO,  the Jets saw another uptick in futures bets.

The Jets were 7-10 last season, and fans expect the addition of Rodgers will propel the team to double-digit victories and their first playoff berth in over a decade.

Oddsmakers opened the Jets with a win total of 9.5 over/under this season. The Jets are -130 odds to make the playoffs, according to DraftKings.