Dalvin Cook landing spots: Cowboys, Ravens, Bills among best fits after RB’s ‘mutual parting’ with Jets

When the Jets signed Dalvin Cook in August, his acquisition was meant to be the cherry on top of an offensive transformation that was headlined by Aaron Rodgers.

Instead, Cook is now becoming a late-season casualty in what has been a lost year for the franchise.

Rodgers’ Achilles injury four snaps into the 2023 NFL season derailed what was viewed as a promising campaign for the Jets. Instead of competing for a title, the team was forced to turn to Zach Wilson and endured another disastrous offensive season, this one led by new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

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The Jets’ running game was solid, but not because of Cook. Breece Hall got healthier and took over a full workload while Israel Abanikanda took on a larger role down the strength.

That left Cook as the odd man out, and that’s part of why Cook and the Jets parted ways with him Tuesday after the veteran was a healthy scratch in Week 17.

“Dalvin has been great. I know this has been a hard season for him,” coach Robert Saleh told reporters on Tuesday. “I haven’t played professional football, but being around it, you know when a player is hurting and I know he’s hurting, but his story is not over. He still has plenty of juice in his legs, but he’s been great.”

So, what’s next for Cook? Odds are he will look to sign with a contender where he can both compete for playing time and for a Super Bowl ring. The 28-year-old has fresh legs, having totaled just 82 touches on the season and while his 3.2 yards per carry leaves a lot to be desired, it’s possible he could fare better behind a better offensive line.

At the very least, Cook figures to draw interest from playoff teams looking for running back depth. And thanks to some injuries, there are at least a handful of teams that could ultimately explore signing Cook now that he is available again.

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Dalvin Cook landing spots

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys threw their trust into Tony Pollard during the 2023 NFL offseason and moved on from veteran starter Ezekiel Elliott to do so. The results haven’t been great, as Pollard is averaging a career-worst 4.0 yards per carry and has ceded some of his workload to Rico Dowdle in recent weeks.

With Dowdle now banged up, Cook could be a logical replacement for him. He would likely fare better behind Dallas’ strong offensive line and could help take some touches away from Pollard while offering a bit more explosive playmaking ability than Dowdle.

The Cowboys have been known to hunt for big names under Jerry Jones, so an opportunity to add Cook on the cheap may interest the Cowboys enough to pull the trigger.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens always seem to endure major injuries at the running back position. That trend has continued into 2023, as both JK Dobbins and Keaton Mitchell were lost to season-ending knee injuries. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill look like a solid one-two punch for the AFC favorites, but they could use some depth and experience to challenge Melvin Gordon.

Cook could perform well in the Ravens’ offense, as the team possesses a good offensive line while Lamar Jackson’s mobility helps to open up lanes for each running back. He certainly won’t have trouble finding space as he did with New York, and Baltimore would arguably give him the best chance to compete for a Super Bowl.

So, if Cook is looking for a chance to win a ring and a chance to play in a smaller role, he could be Baltimore-bound.

Buffalo Bills

No, we’re not just putting the Bills on this list because James Cook, Dalvin’s brother, is the lead back for Buffalo. The Bills actually need proven, explosive running back depth, as Latavius Murray, Ty Johnson and Leonard Fournette haven’t provided the type of punch behind Cook that the front office was hoping.

Cook could take over the backup role that was originally meant for Damien Harris. He would fit well in that role too, as he has a thicker build than his brother and could provide the Bills with a combination of size and explosiveness that it doesn’t currently possess.

If the Bills were willing to kick the tires on Fournette midseason, then they might do the same for Cook. At the very least, his brother will be there to vouch for his work ethic and what he can bring to a locker room.

MORE: Breaking down Dalvin Cook and James Cook’s family tree

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have shifted to more of a run-heavy offense led by Isiah Pacheco with Patrick Mahomes and his receivers struggling. However, with Jerick McKinnon on IR, the Chiefs are a bit thin behind Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who hasn’t done much between the tackles during his NFL career.

Cook would provide the Chiefs with a battle-tested complement to Pacheco who could further help to take some pressure off Mahomes with his playmaking ability. Even if his speed isn’t what it once was, Cook has the savvy needed to be a three-down back and serve as insurance behind Pacheco, who has missed a couple of games with a shoulder injury of late.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are another team that could use some depth at running back. Kyren Williams has been elite during his breakout year, but Ronnie Rivers and Royce Freeman represent the Rams’ top backups behind him.

Los Angeles has never been hesitant to add to its squad in the hopes of chasing a Super Bowl. Cook could emerge as a solid backup to Williams and would fit in with the Rams’ veteran-laden roster as the team looks to stay hot, having won six of its last seven games.

And hey, Matthew Stafford played against Cook a lot during their days together in the NFC North. Perhaps he’ll vouch for the veteran to further his impressive collection of offensive weapons.

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