Running back Dalvin Cook probably isn’t worth his contract as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, but the same can’t be said of all NFL teams.
Super Bowl windows don’t come around often, nor stay open long when they do. The New York Jets have spent the offseason trying to pry one such window open for themselves, which they may have pulled off by trading for former Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in April.
The Jets boast one of the league’s top defenses, and now they have a signal-caller worthy of wide receiver Garrett Wilson’s talent. Wilson won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2022 despite all the turmoil the team dealt with at quarterback. Running back Breece Hall is another second-year standout skill player in New York and was on his way to an impressive rookie campaign before a torn ACL derailed him in Week 7.
By adding Cook to the mix, the Jets will construct arguably the best one-two backfield punch in the NFL, and the presence of each offers insurance against an injury to the other.
Dalvin Cook’s Trade Value Ballparks at 4th-Round Draft Pick
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report on Tuesday, May 9, pitched a trade proposal that would see the Vikings swap Cook for the Jets’ fourth-round draft pick in 2024.
The four-time Pro Bowler is one of the most expensive players at his position, with only Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey earning more annually. While Cook’s contributions are undoubtedly strong, it may be tough for Minnesota to find a taker.
Teams haven’t been willing to spend big on running backs in the modern NFL, although a club desperate to win during a small championship window may be willing to pony up.
Hall is playing on a rookie contract, which has kept the Jets’ financial commitment to the position low. New York currently has approximately $7.6 million in salary cap space but also need to sign its 2023 draft picks.
Bringing Cook in would require the Jets to move some money around, as the running back still has three years remaining on a $63 million contract. But if taking on Rodgers at 39 years old for one season, or at most two, isn’t the time to swing for the fences in New York, then that time will never come.
Dalvin Cook’s Biggest Value to Vikings is Salary Cap Relief
The Vikings don’t need to rush a deal for Cook now that the draft is over. In fact, it makes more sense to wait.
Minnesota will save $11 million against the salary cap by dealing Cook after June 1, which is the highest number the team can slash given its options to either release or trade the running back and the various deadlines by which to do so.
That fact gives the Vikings some time to comparison shop. Cook’s greatest value is to teams looking to win immediately, which includes the Buffalo Bills and other Super Bowl contenders in both conferences. It’s unlikely Minnesota will do better than a fourth-round pick, but there are at least a few weeks left to find out.