When RB Dalvin Cook arrived in New York as the Jets’ marquee free agent signing, he was coming off of four straight years as a top 10 rusher in the NFL. Teammate Breece Hall had put together a rookie season worthy of a tip of the cap, but not one that Cook foresaw tipping the scales in the carries department.
Dalvin Cook Unaccustomed to Fewer Touches With the Jets
Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic tweeted Cook’s reflection on his diminished yards per carry being a byproduct of a lack of attempts in the backfield:
Cook was used to seeing close to 20 carries every Sunday while a member of the Vikings. It’s what helped him challenge superstar running back Derrick Henry for the rushing title back in 2020. Only once did his backup, Alexander Mattison, even see half of his touches behind QB Kirk Cousins.
This season, Cook has carried the ball 39 times. He has taken a backseat to Hall, which has lessened his workload. Hall emerged in the Jets’ season opener with 127 yards on the ground. He then exploded in New York’s 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos with a career-high 177 yards on 22 attempts.
Cook’s dissatisfaction has mounted over with his latest comments. The Jets are 3-3 and have found a way to break even at home and on the road. They have played well in Aaron Rodgers’ absence and have only won when Hall has found the end zone or the 100-yard threshold.
Is Cook Still Capable of Rushing for 1,000 Yards in a Season?
Cook, 28, has reached the age where running backs tend to taper off in production, usually due to age, attrition, or both. However, his play leading up to 2023 gave no indication that he was over the hill.
To make matters worse, Cook has gone from earning $8.3 million in base salary with the Vikings to $1.08 million with the Jets. Less money, less time on the field, less production — all of this has led to his recent remarks and a trade that could be on the horizon.
Cook’s best game came in their season opener, where he ran for 33 yards on 13 attempts. Statistically, his numbers do not show a trajectory that mirrors his former self. A change of scenery carries the potential to change that.
While Hall has delivered in a couple of big games for Gang Green, having Cook in the rotation gives head coach Robert Saleh depth and veteran assurance should the former regress. There’s still time for Cook to see an elevated role in the offense, as his adamancy on being traded has not reached a boiling point yet.