Chiefs Urged to Replace Jerick McKinnon With 4-Time Pro Bowl RB

Chiefs urged to sign Dalvin Cook rather than Jerick McKinnon in 2024.

Getty Will the Kansas City Chiefs bring back veteran running back Jerick McKinnon in 2024?

The Kansas City Chiefs could use another veteran running back behind Isiah Pacheco in 2024.

As things stand on May 20, Clyde Edwards-Helaire appears to be penciled in as the likely RB2 with a collection of prospects and newcomers behind him. Those players include Keaontay IngramLouis Rees-Zammit, Deneric Prince, Hassan Hall and 2024 UDFAs Emani Bailey and Carson Steele following the recent La’Mical Perine cut.

The instinctual move would be to re-sign veteran team leader and third-down back Jerick McKinnon for his fourth straight season in Kansas City and call it a day. But there is another option.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine urged the Chiefs to think a little bigger on May 13, naming four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook as a “realistic target” for KC.

“The offense is in good hands with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, but additional help would be nice,” Ballentine noted. Adding later: “They could use a running back to take on some of Jerick McKinnon’s role as a pass-catching back. Dalvin Cook is going to be 29 years old in August, but he could still help with that workload.”

After a forgettable 15-game pact with the New York Jets in 2023, Cook was released and latched on with the Baltimore Ravens. He appeared in one playoff outing in Baltimore, rushing for 2.9 yards per carry and a first down.

With the Jets, Cook averaged a career-worst 3.2 yards per carry with 5.2 yards per reception out of the backfield. Overall, the dual threat chipped in 292 scrimmage yards behind Breece Hall, with two fumbles and no touchdowns.

After four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons from 2019 through 2022 and over 8,000 career scrimmage yards, it was an unthinkably poor campaign for the soon-to-be 29-year-old — but that doesn’t necessarily mean his playmaking days are over.

Jerick McKinnon Missed 8 Games With Chiefs in 2023-24

McKinnon has struggled with injuries throughout his career, and another major availability issue impacted him last year despite a mostly healthy 2022. In the end, the veteran was able to play in 12 regular season games in 2023 but missed the majority of the playoffs, returning just in time for the Super Bowl.

All told, that added up to eight key absences down the stretch.

The cause was a “core muscle injury and a fractured pelvis” that required surgery, as reported by Chiefs Digest media member Matt Derrick. Needless to say, an injury of that nature clouds McKinnon’s future outlook in the league.

McKinnon has not been as vocal on social media this offseason as previous years. Since February, he’s only posted twice on X.

“A lot of ppl can’t come round me no more that’s just how that cookie crumbles 🤷‍♂️,” the running back wrote cryptically on April 5. The second post did not appear to be football related.

With two straight healthy seasons in the books from 2022 through 2023, it’s not a stretch to argue that Cook profiles as the more reliable receiving option over McKinnon. He also has a higher ceiling than Edwards-Helaire and the current group of backups.

The question is how much money he’s looking for, and whether or not the Chiefs believe Cook still has something left in the tank.

Dalvin Cook Is ‘Looking Forward to What’s Ahead,’ Preaches ‘Patience’ Throughout Free Agent Process

Cook spoke with reporters on May 18 and KPRC2 NFL insider Aaron Wilson was among them, sharing video of the brief Q&A.

“I feel great man,” Cook voiced when asked about his training program. “It’s been different for me this offseason, [sports performance coach] Justin [Allen’s] been tapping into a bunch of different things for me. So, it’s been exciting.”

“I’m just looking forward to what’s ahead for me,” the former Minnesota Vikings star went on. “This offseason has been special for me, so I’m just looking forward to show[ing] the world what’s next for Dalvin Cook.”

The veteran did relay that his camp is “taking calls” from different franchises, and that he’s “focusing on myself” and “getting ready for training camp” in the meantime.

“For me, like you said, patience is the key,” Cook concluded. “Right now, the only thing that I’m really focusing on is getting myself in tip-top shape and ready [for when] the rock come, come fall.”

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