The biggest name on the free agent market right now is Dalvin Cook and there’s still a chance that the Miami Dolphins could be an option.
On ESPN’s NFL Live, Jeff Darlington reported that there remains mutual interest between Cook and the Dolphins.
“We have nothing urgent right now in terms of Cook’s decision because ultimately he still wants to get a little bit closer to training camp to really nail this down. One thing I would point out is that the Miami Dolphins remain interested, they still have an offer on the table, one that Cook is not willing to accept. I could see him certainly trying to drum up other leverage. He is still interested in joining the Dolphins but at this point, again, not willing to commit to the deal that they have on the table.”
Darlington also mentioned that Cook could be waiting on other running backs to sign their new deals before he signs his to get some more leverage.
“One thing that interests me here in terms of a timeline is July 17th – that’s the deadline for players like Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs to get their deals done. It has nothing to do with Dalvin Cook but if Barkley and Jacobs could reset the market with a deal of their own, perhaps it would give the Dolphins and Dalvin Cook or another team some idea of what his pay should be.”
The Florida native was a second-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL draft to replace Adrian Peterson.
Cook rushed for nearly 6,000 yards during his six seasons with the Vikings and found the endzone 52 total times.
According to Cameron Wolfe, the New England Patriots and New York Jets are also interested in the 27-year-old running back.
Dalvin Cook Fits the Dolphins’ System
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel runs one of the most effective rushing offenses in the NFL because he comes from the Mike Shanahan tree.
The good news is that Cook played in nearly the same kind of offense in Minnesota that McDaniel runs in Miami.
During his first two seasons with the Vikings, Cook rushed for just 969 yards in 15 total games, but things got better after that.
In 2019, the Vikings hired Super Bowl-winning head coach Gary Kubiak as their assistant head coach and offensive advisor. During this transition, offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski learned and ran Kubiak’s offense that he ran for former Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Shanahan.
During that season, Cook had a breakout year rushing for over 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The following season, Kubiak took over as the offensive coordinator because Stefanski became the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
In 2020, Cook had the best year of his career by making his second straight Pro Bowl and rushed for a career-high 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns.
After the 2020 season, Kubiak stepped away from the Vikings, but his son Klint, took over on the playcalling duties.
Appearing in just 13 games in 2021, Cook averaged 4.7 yards per carry and still rushed for over 1,100 yards and scored six touchdowns.
Last season, the Vikings made a change at the head coaching position, but they remained running the same type of scheme under Kevin O’Connell.
Playing in every game last year for the first time in his career, Cook still managed to rush for nearly 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. Cook also caught two touchdowns for the first time since 2018.
If Cook was to end up in Miami, it wouldn’t take long for him to learn the offense with McDaniel calling nearly the same plays and concepts.
Other RBs Miami Could Target
There’s no doubt that the Dolphins are interested in adding another running back to their roster that could help take a load off Tua Tagovailoa.
In the offseason, Miami did re-sign Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson back on two-year deals, but they didn’t overspend on them.
Last season the duo combined only rushed for a total of 1,283 yards and six touchdowns.
If the Dolphins are unable to land Cook, they could go after these three running backs.
Ezekiel Elliott: Played in 15 games in 2022 and rushed for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns. The former Dallas Cowboy will turn 28 before the season starts, still has plenty left in the tank despite splitting carries last season with Tony Pollard.
Kareem Hunt: Over the past few seasons in Cleveland, Hunt has been the backup running back between Nick Chubb which means Hunt still has some tread remaining on the tires. Rushing for just 854 yards over the last two seasons, the former third-round pick averaged 4.3 yards per carry. Hunt has also caught 57 passes since 2021.
Leonard Fournette: The former first-round pick took over the workload for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and rushed for nearly 700 yards and three touchdowns. Fournette doesn’t necessarily fit McDaniel’s scheme, but as a power back, Fournette can be a change of pace back for Miami in short-yardage scenarios.