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The Jets are gathering something of an All-Star team and that’s hard to dispute with the addition of Dalvin Cook on Monday.
Cook, 28, has agreed to join the Jets on a one-year contract after spending the last six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Cook has agreed to the deal but a source declined to say how much the deal is actually worth. NFL Media reported the deal’s maximum value is $8.6 million. The figure includes incentives but does not represent the base salary.
The NFL’s highest paid running back is San Francisco’s Christian McCaffery, who averages $16.015 million per season.
Dalvin Cook Effect On RB Salaries
But this isn’t about the depressed running back market.
This is about a club with Super Bowl aspirations adding a four-time Pro Bowl player who has gained over 1,000 yards each of the past four seasons and has never averaged under 4.4 yards per carry.
This is about the Jets adding a dynamic player. Cook was among the league leaders with 30 runs over 10 yards last season. The former Florida State and Miami Central High standout gained 10 yards or more on 11.4 percent of his rushes.
Cook had a 53-yard touchdown run against the Dolphins.
He had an 81-yard touchdown run against the Bills.
Cook had a 40-yard run against the Colts and caught a 64-yard touchdown pass against the Colts.
Jets Believe Cook Is ‘Dynamic’
“He’s a dynamic ball carrier,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters on the eve of Cook’s visit. “He’s been a dynamic ball carrier for a long time. [Cook’s] great in the pass game, so it’s just a matter of, like I said, all the details of that, I’m not going get too detailed, but you can’t say no to good football player, they usually find a way.”
The point is Cook adds a player opposing defenses have to worry about. And the Jets already have some of those with receiver Garrett Wilson coming off an offensive rookie of the year award in ’22, quarterback Aaron Rodgers coming to the team as a four-time MVP, and second-year running back Breece Hall promising a leap after a good rookie year.
About that: Hall played only seven games in 2022, but averaged a whopping 5.8 yards per carry. He suffered an ACL injury and is still working on getting back to 100 percent. The Jets have been hopeful he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season but Hall currently is on the physically unable to perform list.
Jets Worried About Breece Hall?
So is the Cook addition a sign Hall has encountered a setback?
“No, no,” Saleh said. “Breece looks fantastic, to the point where we’ve got to slow him down. He’s freakish, he’s in great shape. He looks much more fit than he did a year ago, just adding muscle and all that stuff, and still weighing 225 and hitting, like I said, that 23 on the GPS.
“He’s, knock on wood, he’s trending in the right direction.”
Adding Cook allows the Jets to be more conservative with Hall if necessary but also will prevent Cook from being overused.
Rodgers Pay Cut Helped Jets
This addition was surely made possible, at least in part, by Rodgers volunteering to take a $35 million pay cut over two years. It’s not a coincidence that once Rodgers signed that new two-year deal, the Jets scheduled their visit with Cook.
The next question is whether the Jets, collecting talent from far and wide, are more fantasy team than actual NFL team? Do these guys mesh?
Will they be a bunch of individual big names or a synchronized team?
“You’re 100 percent on it because you want to make sure it fits,” Saleh said. “You’re not trying to build a team of names. You want to make sure that it fits and I feel like that’s what we’ve been able to do a really good job of.
“There’s a purpose for what we’re doing. And being very cognizant of not getting caught up in fan noise and pulling in names just to pull in names. A lot of discussions have been had. A lot of film has been watched on Dalvin and if it fits, it’s because we know it’ll fit. It’s not just to make a move to win the offseason.”