Dalvin Cook may still want to continue his NFL career with a homecoming, but the running back reportedly isn’t willing to do so for what the Miami Dolphins are offering.
“We have nothing urgent right now in terms of Cook’s decision because ultimately he still wants to get a little bit closer to training camp to really nail this down,” ESPN insider Jeff Darlington said on “NFL Live.” “The one thing I would point out is that the Miami Dolphins remain interested. They still have an offer on the table, one though that Cook is not willing to accept.
“I could see him certainly trying to drum up other leverage. He is still interested in joining the Dolphins, but at this point, again, not willing to commit to the deal that they have on the table.
“The one thing that interests me here…in terms of a timeline is July 17. That’s the deadline for players like Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs to get their deals done. It has nothing to do with Dalvin Cook, but if Barkley and Jacobs perhaps could reset the market with a deal of their own, perhaps it would give the Dolphins and Dalvin Cook or another team some idea of what his pay should be. So just one little threshold that maybe we should keep an eye on. If that doesn’t happen, Cook and the Dolphins would have to work out something on their own.”
The Miami native has been on the open market since early June after he was released by the Minnesota Vikings in a cost-cutting move. The Dolphins have been linked to the 27-year-old since before that, with the lure of the opportunity to play for a playoff contender in his home state thought to be a recruiting advantage.
But it’s been indicated almost from the start there will not be a “substantial” hometown discount on a contract with the Dolphins, and it is unknown what the current offer actually is.
Barkley of the New York Giants and Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders reportedly are unlikely to set a new market for running back contracts while having to deal with a franchise tag value of about $10 million. Those two are slightly younger than Cook, but all three have had similar careers and production when healthy.
Miami could be bidding for Cook against all of its AFC East rivals, with the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and New York Jets having been linked to Cook in some manner this offseason. The Jets reportedly have shown a high level of interest. There have been very few reports about other teams in the mix.
Miami is likely a contender to win the division even without Cook, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa working to improve his durability after helping them reach the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2016 campaign.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill reportedly is facing an NFL investigation for a possible assault, but with Jaylen Waddle and running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., the Miami offense should continue to make strides in its second season under head coach Mike McDaniel.
Dolphins fullback Alec Ingold recently said the competition Cook would create among their running backs would make everybody better. He is an accomplished player coming off four straight seasons with at least 1,100 rushing yards and would be valuable to almost any offense.
It remains to be seen if teams are willing to pay for that kind of production and how much they ultimately are willing to spend.