Every March, we bank on an abundance of rumors surrounding the NFL. From releases to signings to trades to draft stock, there’s no shortage of speculation. Dalvin Cook is the latest among a series of veteran players rumored to be being shopped around. Let’s examine some realistic trade partners for the Minnesota Vikings.
Dalvin Cook Trade Rumors
The Cook trade rumors are simultaneously surprising and not shocking at all. On the one hand, we first heard about Cook potentially being on the move from SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson.
This one is a little different from the Derrick Henry trade rumors in that the Titans were gauging the market, while it seems with Cook, it is the rest of the NFL that is inquiring about acquiring him. Wolfson stated, “I did hear there’s an offer in on Dalvin Cook.”
Cook is entering the third year of the five-year extension he signed ahead of the 2020 season. He’s also going to be 28 years old this season, and his efficiency has declined each of the past two campaigns.
The Vikings have a realistic out on his contract right now. They can cut him with just a $6.2 million dead cap hit. Of course, that’s unlikely to happen. But if other teams are interested in trading for Cook, the Vikings would be wise to listen.
At this time, Cook trade rumors are just that — rumors. If an offer indeed has been made, we are speculating on what team (or teams) reached out. So, what teams could trade for Cook?
The Broncos Could Make the Move if Javonte Williams’ Knee Is Worse Than Expected
The Denver Broncos are in a very tough spot from an organizational standpoint. They’ve essentially mortgaged everything to go all in with Russell Wilson and Sean Payton.
Financially, they can make it work with just under $10 million in salary cap space. Logistically, it might be more difficult, given that the Broncos already don’t have their first- or second-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft.
I can’t imagine the Broncos would be willing to move Javonte Williams. However, with the Vikings likely to cut Adam Thielen, perhaps a deal involving a third-round pick, a couple of Day 3 picks, and Courtland Sutton would make sense.
I don’t really think any team should trade for Cook. But if anyone is going to do it, the Broncos do make the most sense because if things don’t work out this year, they are going to completely blow it up in 2024 anyway. They might as well put the best offense possible on the field and see what happens.
Perhaps the Bills Are Looking To Pair Cook With His Brother
If the Bills are interested in upgrading their running back situation, a trade may be the most prudent way to do it. Yet, at about $17 million over the cap, their flexibility is quite limited.
In a trade for Cook, the Bills and the Vikings could work something out pertaining to how much of Cook’s salary the Vikings cover. They could also restructure his deal to push some of his $14 million cap hit out into future seasons.
In terms of fit, the Bills are in their Super Bowl window but have far fewer playmakers than one might think. If you really think about it, who do they have besides Stefon Diggs to help Josh Allen?
There’s also the added allure of Dalvin getting to play with his brother, James. If anything was going to compel Cook to agree to a restructure, it would be the prospect of joining his brother and chasing a title.
Don’t Rule Out the Bears Making a Play for Cook
Outside of their quarterback, the Bears have the weakest group of offensive skill position players in the NFL. Simply put, Justin Fields needs help from wherever he can get it.
The worst possible situation an NFL franchise can be in is having a dearth of talent while being in salary cap hell. Fortunately, the latter is not an issue for the Bears. They currently have the most cap space available, by far, at about $95 million.
The Bears certainly have far more pressing issues than running back. Most importantly, they need to give Fields an offensive line and some real receivers.
With that said, improvements are improvements. And Cook would undoubtedly be an improvement on David Montgomery, who is not expected to return, as well as Khalil Herbert, who is currently atop the Bears’ depth chart at running back.
NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock said, “The Bears should look to leave free agency with at least two of the top-level offensive linemen, an off-ball linebacker, a veteran edge rusher, and preferably a three-technique. That might just be the start.”
While those positions are undoubtedly priorities for the Bears, such things are easier said than done. If the Bears can’t craft their ideal roster, they need to spend their money somewhere. They’d certainly be better off with Cook than an excess of unspent funds.
The Bears can trade for Cook and easily afford his $14 million cap hit. Then, if his play continues to decline, they could just as easily cut him next year with only a $3.1 million dead cap hit.
Will Dalvin Cook Ultimately Be Traded?
It’s difficult to sift through what rumors have legs and what is just smoke. There’s no question some reports out there are designed to try and generate interest in a player and aren’t anything tangible. We have no known way of knowing if that’s what’s happening with the Cook trade rumors.
2024 is a whole different story. I do think 2023 is almost certainly Cook’s last year with the Vikings. But ultimately, despite Cook’s advancing age and declining play, I would be very surprised if he wasn’t on the Vikings for the 2023 season.