Jets’ Robert Saleh Fuels Dalvin Cook Rumors With Welcoming Quote

Dalvin Cook

Getty Free agent running back Dalvin Cook with the Minnesota Vikings in 2020.

The New York Jets kicked off training camp with fan and media availability on July 20, and of course, that meant a press conference from head coach Robert Saleh.

Most of the questions did focus on camp and the players that are present, but it didn’t take long before one reporter asked about free agent running back Dalvin Cook — a veteran that has been linked to the Jets organization for some time.

Saleh did nothing to diminish those rumors on Thursday, however. Instead, he stoked flames and added some fuel to the fire.

“With Dalvin, obviously you never want to say no to a great player,” the Jets HC responded. “I’ll leave Joe [Douglas] to that one. I know there’s a lot of contractual stuff that goes with it, but he’s a good one.”

Robert Saleh’s Bluntness on Ezekiel Elliott Proves Jets Are Interested in Dalvin Cook

A lot of the speculation surrounding Cook has been media-driven — meaning, the Jets have never come out and publicly said they’re pursuing him. Saleh has left the door open a couple of times, including today on July 20, but the NYJ front office hasn’t totally shown their hand on how far they’d be willing to go to land the star ball-carrier.

Having said that, Saleh’s varied quotes on signing another running back do paint a macro picture for fans that the team is at least interested in the idea of Cook compared to others. For example, when asked about Ezekiel Elliott rumors earlier in the offseason, the Jets head coach shut down that theory by stating that “we love our running back room.”

He’s never done that for Cook. Perhaps, the Jets organization thinks the latter has a lot more left in the tank or maybe Aaron Rodgers likes the idea of bringing in his long-time rival, but for whatever reason, the former Minnesota Vikings playmaker appears to be the only veteran RB that Gang Green hasn’t ignored over the spring and summer.

If they miss on Cook, they could always pivot to another player like Elliott or Kareem Hunt — given the RB market — but it doesn’t feel like Douglas will make his move until he knows for sure that the four-time Vikings Pro Bowler is out of the equation.

Jets’ Michael Carter Leads RB Room on Day 1 of Training Camp as Breece Hall Up to 23 MPH

Associated Press beat reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. started the morning by tweeting out an update on Breece Hall.

“RB Breece Hall, placed on PUP yesterday to start camp, is working with a trainer on the side wearing a jersey and helmet,” Waszak informed. “He can be activated from PUP at any point in camp.”

“He looks really good,” Saleh noted regarding Hall. “Someone gave me a little whisper that he hit 23 [miles per hour] today on his GPS so he looks really good. He looks strong, he’s in really good shape.”

Saleh did add that the Jets will “do good by” Hall before rushing him back onto the field. “When he’s ready, he’s ready,” the coach explained. “The one thing with these ACLs, you don’t want to go too quick but at the same time, you don’t want to go too slow, so there’s a balancing act. Trust our trainers, trust our doctors, and as of now — knock on wood — things are going really well.”

As for the healthy members of the running back room, former 2021 draft pick Michael Carter was the clear lead-back on day one of training camp. Per The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt, Carter caught the first pass of the practice from Rodgers, and he was also working with the first-team throughout.

Zonovan Knight appeared to be working with Zach Wilson and the second-team offense to start camp.

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