The four-time Pro Bowl running back remains unsigned after his release from the Minnesota Vikings on June 9. Former Patriots assistant Michael Lombardi described Cook as a good fit for New England during the “Pat McAfee Show“, and Cook retweeted the segment on Friday, June 23.
“I actually believe Dalvin Cook would be a better fit than [DeAndre] Hopkins for them,” Lombardi said.
Hopkins, a star free agent wide receiver, visited the Patriots on June 15 and received a contract offer according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini. Cook notably told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he would like to pair up with Hopkins but didn’t specify a team.
Dalvin Cook Could Add Needed Depth to Patriots Backfield
With the Patriots, Cook could fit in as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has employed multiple running backs on offense before. That could still be the case with a Patriots squad that has little after Rhamondre Stevenson, who went over 1,000 yards last season.
“Stevenson’s a great player. There’s no question,” Lombardi said. “But without Stevenson and if he goes down, it’s Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. They need another back — back there.”
“And I think Cook is a good change of pace — catch a screen [pass] and go a long way,” Lombardi added. “I think he’ll make a huge difference for the Patriots with Stevenson.”
Cook has four-consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 43 touchdowns in that span with no less than six in a year. The Vikings released him to save $9 million in salary cap space amid his five-year, $63 million deal.
That could be sufficient space for the Patriots to also sign Hopkins, who also received an offer from the Tennessee Titans. Hopkins was released by the Arizona Cardinals on May 26 amid his two-year, $54.5 million deal.
New England would just need Cook and/or Hopkins to take less money up front on their potential deals. Hopkins could command up to $23.2 million annually or a three-year, $69.6 million deal per Spotrac.
Star skill players aside, the Patriots can’t ignore concerning needs at tackle. Trent Brown showed up late and out of shape for mandatory minicamp this month. Riley Reiff, 34, has missed five games in the past two seasons, and Calvin Anderson and Conor McDermott have limited experience as starters if called upon.
Whole AFC East in Contention for Dalvin Cook
With that said, the Patriots could face Cook twice — or more — per season if he doesn’t sign in Foxborough. Cook has shown interest in everyone else in the AFC East.
The New York Jets joined that party this week when Cook retweeted an ESPN clip where the “Get Up” hosts discussed Cook as a fit for the Jets. Cook would add a force to the backfield to complement Breece Hall in New York if that happened.