The Dallas Cowboys backfield will look remarkably different in 2023, but the team is being pushed to make even more changes by trading for Minnesota Vikings star Dalvin Cook. From a compensation standpoint, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox suggests a reasonable proposal that has the Cowboys trading a 2024 fourth-round selection and 2025 fifth rounder in exchange for Cook.
“Cook could be that high-end complement to Pollard that Dallas needs, and with $14.2 million in cap space, the Cowboys could afford to grab him,” Knox wrote on May 25, 2023. “The question, of course, is whether Minnesota would be willing to trade him inside the conference.
“While Cook has three years left on his contract, virtually everyone knows the Vikings are willing to move on. This lowers his trade value and likely puts it in line with what the Detroit Lions got for D’Andre Swift during draft weekend.”
The challenge is it is hard to imagine the Cowboys are willing to take on Cook’s $10.4 million salary for 2023. Cook still has three seasons remaining on a lucrative five-year, $63 million.
The Cowboys Are Unlikely Willing to Take on Vikings RB Dalvin Cook’s $63 Million Contract
Dallas just got out of the long-term big money running back business by releasing Ezekiel Elliott in March. The Cowboys are using the $10 million franchise tag on Tony Pollard but his future beyond this season remains uncertain.
Unlike Elliott, there is no sign of a drop-off in Cook’s production as the four-time Pro Bowler has posted four straight seasons notching more than 1,100 yards. Cook had 264 carries for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns while averaging 4.4 yards per rush in 17 starts last season. The Pro Bowler also added 39 receptions for 295 yards and 2 TDs through the air.
Dallas Would Be a Logical Landing Spot for Dalvin Cook If Minnesota Releases the Star
Cook’s presence would bolster the Cowboys Super Bowl chances, but it is hard to imagine Dallas showing an interest unless the running back agreed to a restructured deal. Dallas could also make a run at Cook if the playmaker is ultimately released by Minnesota. The Vikings would take an $8.2 million dead cap hit by cutting Cook instead of striking a trade, per Spotrac.
“Asked if Dalvin Cook will be on the roster this season, Adofo-Mensah didn’t say yes,” ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted on April 13. “‘Conversations are always ongoing with him. We’re trying to be solutions-oriented and always try to put the roster together within our constraints.’ Cook’s 2023 cap number is $14.1m.”
The Cowboys Could Make Another Move to Snag an Additional Running Back
The Cowboys re-signed Pollard, drafted versatile former Kansas State standout Deuce Vaughn and signed veteran back Ronald Jones II. Despite these moves, there is still some skepticism on whether Dallas has enough firepower in the backfield given Elliott’s departure. The Athletic’s Jon Machota admitted to having “concerns” as to whether the Cowboys have done enough at running back given Pollard is coming off a fractured fibula.
“From everything I’ve heard, I think Pollard will be fully healthy by the start of the season,” Machota detailed on May 24. “They might ease him in during training camp. Running backs aren’t getting hit much there and he wasn’t going to play much in the preseason even if fully healthy. I think he’ll be fine. But I do have concerns about just assuming he can take on a significant increase in carries.
“…They need him as close to healthy entering the playoffs as possible. To me, that means finding a back who can take on some of the dirty work that Elliott was used to handling. Maybe that player is on the roster. Maybe that’s someone they add in free agency before the seasons starts.”