Patriots Encounter New Hurdle in Dalvin Cook Pursuit: Report

Dalvin Cook

Getty Dalvin Cook remains unsigned and could land with the Patriots.

The New England Patriots will have to open its wallet a little wider than expected for star free agent running back Dalvin Cook.

NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported that Cook wants top dollar, and the four-time Pro Bowler recently turned down the Miami Dolphins’ contract offer because it wasn’t enough. The Minnesota Vikings cut Cook on June 9 amid his $63 million deal.

“He believes he is one of the best running backs in the league, and he wants to be paid as such,” Wolfe said on “Good Morning Football” on Monday, July 10.

Spotrac projects Cook to command $8.7 million annually, and he could go higher based on Wolfe’s report. The top nine running backs in the league make $10 million or higher annually.

Cook made the case for big money with his play in recent years. He has four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and he scored at least six touchdowns in each of those seasons.

Last season, Cook finished sixth in rushing yards with 1,173, and he had the fifth-most runs of 40 yards or more. He finished 14th in touchdowns with eight, but he previously had a 16-touchdown season in 2020.

While the Patriots have a 1,000-yard running back in Rhamondre Stevenson, another explosive playmaker such as Cook could help. The Patriots didn’t have a run or pass play longer than 53 yards in 2022.

Cook has a history of big plays with runs of 66 yards or longer in every season of his six-year career except for his four-game rookie campaign. That includes runs of 70, 75 and 81 yards since 2018.

Dalvin Cook Has Offers ‘From Multiple Teams’

Not only do the Patriots need to pay Cook top dollar, New England faces significant competition for Cook’s services.

“The Dolphins do have interest. They have had conversations with Dalvin Cook. And there have been offers made from multiple teams, I’m told, including the Dolphins,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe didn’t specify if the Patriots were one of the multiple teams that made an offer to Cook already. Either way, the Patriots, Dolphins and fellow AFC East rival New York Jets all still have a shot at Cook.

“They’re in a holding pattern,” Wolfe said about Cook and the Dolphins. “He hasn’t got exactly what he wants at this point, and he says, ‘You know, I’ll wait.'”

“And from what I understand, training camp is the next marker. Ideally you want to get him something so you get him into camp,” Wolfe added. “But he and his team are comfortable if goes into his camp [or] if it goes into the season.”

Patriots Could Still Afford Dalvin Cook and DeAndre Hopkins

New England has money to spend with $17.74 million in salary cap space in pursuit of Cook and free agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who visited the team last month.

Hopkins didn’t sign a contract offer from the Patriots, and he remains unsigned amid other suitors. The Tennessee Titans also hosted Hopkins and offered him a deal. The Kansas City Chiefs likewise have interest, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

New England arguably could make a play for both free agent stars, but that window of opportunity will grow tighter as training camp approaches. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last month that it makes sense for players such as Hopkins to wait for the right deal.

An injury at another training camp could cause a team to come running for Hopkins or Cook with a stronger contract than what the Patriots can offer. Nine teams have more available salary cap space than the Patriots, and two of them ironically are Cook’s and Hopkins’ former teams.

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