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Robert Saleh doesn’t deny NY Jets’ interest in Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook, NY Jets, Rumors
Dalvin Cook, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh addressed rumors about the team’s interest in Dalvin Cook

Speaking to the media on Friday morning, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh was asked about the team’s potential interest in Dalvin Cook.

He did not deny the team’s interest.

“Obviously, we’ll turn the stones over on that one, but again, that will probably be more of a Joe [Douglas] question.”

While it’s a fairly cookie-cutter answer on the surface, it becomes notable if you read between the lines. This is a much different answer than the one Saleh gave when asked about DeAndre Hopkins: “We love our current group. I know there was some stuff with Odell [Beckham Jr.] … we love our group.”

Cook, who will turn 28 in August, was recently released by the Vikings after six seasons with the team. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the past four seasons.

On paper, Cook remains one of the most productive backs in football. In 2022, he played in all 17 games and finished with 1,468 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns on 303 touches.

However, as Jets X-Factor’s Rivka Boord recently broke down, the surface-level box-score metrics might be telling the wrong story. Cook is showing signs of major decline when you look beneath the hood. In 2022, his efficiency metrics stooped to the bottom of the barrel in many categories, despite running behind a Vikings offensive line that ranked as the league’s third-best in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking grade.

Cook also has long-standing issues with fumbles, drops, and durability.

It will be interesting to see whether the Jets show serious interest in Cook despite his many red flags. Maybe they envision him being more efficient in a smaller role within their deep backfield, which could be the ideal role for Cook as he reaches his late-twenties with a lot of mileage under his belt.

The health of Breece Hall remains the biggest question mark for the Jets’ running back unit. If fully healthy, Hall has the talent to be one of the best running backs in football. But it remains to be seen whether Hall will be the same player after suffering an ACL tear last October, and, if so, how long it takes him to return to that level.

Because of the uncertainty with Hall, it could be appealing for the Jets to add a longtime starter such as Cook to the unit, providing some security. At the same time, Cook carries a lot of concerns that would be troubling for any team regardless of how large or small his role is.

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