Dalvin Cook to the Jets Now Looks Like a Layup

off to Slow
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Appearances can be deceiving, but Vikings fans may be getting some clarity about where Dalvin Cook will end up.

The long-time Vikings RB is on his way to New York to meet with the Jets. Doing so comes after the stunning news — shout out to Tom Pelissero of The NFL Network — that Aaron Rodgers has agreed to reduce his overall contract by $35 million.

May 23, 2023; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) speaks at a press conference after practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports.

Take a look at what Pelissero had to say: “The #Jets signed four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to a new two-year, $75 million guaranteed contract through the 2024 season, per NFL salary data. Rodgers had nearly $110M guaranteed remaining on his old deal in GB. He’s taking less for a shot at a ring (or two) in New York.”

Dalvin Cook and the Jets

Earlier this morning, Pelissero also broke the news that Cook was flying to New York to meet with the Jets (Pelissero is on fire). Take a look at how he frames things:

One has to assume that New York’s leadership group was adamant that they’d be adding pieces around Rodgers if the QB agreed to the new deal. After all, the cap space is only good insofar as it’s used to add more talent. Cap space is simply a means to an end, folks.

Yes, Rodgers must have been given some assurances that slashing money off his deal meant the Jets would become very serious very quickly about adding more weapons. The Hall of Fame QB (Vikings fans may begrudge it, but it’s true) is clearly looking to give himself a great shot at winning another Lombardi. Brett Favre went to the Jets and didn’t get too far; maybe Rodgers is keen about experiencing a different fate.

There Is a Dalvin Cook Plot Twist
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Is Dalvin Cook to the Jets a locked-in reality? No, by no means. Presumably, there are still a couple hurdles to clear. Hopping on a plane to fly to New York, though, is pretty telling, isn’t it? Cook could have simply picked up the phone or fired up a video call. Instead, he’s going through the hassle to physically travelling there.

One has to think, then, that the Jets are the clear favorites to land the RB (even as we remember that sometimes people, such as yours truly, miss layups).

Not too long ago, Dustin Baker discussed how the AFC East — yes, the entire division — has been connected to Cook. The Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, and Jets have all been linked to the talented runner, if only in a speculative manner. Today’s news changes the calculus, establishing New York as the team to watch.

Another Nugget Enters
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) looks on after the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Per Over the Cap, the Jets are sitting on around $16 million in cap space. That’s more than enough to get a deal done with Cook, especially if there’s some creativity with void years.

Meanwhile, the Vikings continue to insist that they’re pushing for the Super Bowl in 2023. There are plenty of roster concerns and yet there are also plenty of strengths, as well. Replacing Cook in Minnesota is Alexander Mattison, a 25-year-old RB who is coming off his rookie deal. He’s looking to prove that he’s more than capable of being an effective RB1 in the NFL.

The Jets and Vikings don’t play in the upcoming season. The only possible matchup would be in the Super Bowl if both teams somehow found a way to get there.

UPDATE: Dalvin Cook appears excited about the meeting with the Jets. Take a peak at what he posted on Twitter just a moment ago:

UPDATE 2.0: Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Patriots are interested in getting a meeting with the RB. The wording in the Fowler tweet makes it appear that a meeting isn’t a certainty. One wonders if the word about a New England meeting was leaked simply to give the RB a bit more leverage in the negotiations with New York. Nevertheless, it’s definitely something to monitor: