It is no enjoyable being a moist blanket, however somebody’s received to do it.
The Minnesota Vikings knowledgeable Dalvin Cook of his impending launch on Thursday. Barring some last-ditch try to commerce for him, Cook dinner shall be launched to the open market heading into the weekend, that means a four-time Professional Bowl operating again is about to develop into out there to anybody who desires him.
Usually, that is the place we sound the Cowboy sirens and attempt to badger the Dallas entrance workplace into doing one thing enjoyable. It occurred simply two weeks in the past, when DeAndre Hopkins turned a free agent underneath related circumstances.
The overwhelming majority of the time, I am a type of who’d favor to see the Cowboys act extra aggressively. I am simply unsure that is a type of events. As a result of, exterior of the plain indisputable fact that Cook dinner is a gifted participant at a skinny place, I am simply unsure I see the match.
Let’s contemplate why. Even with out Ezekiel Elliott on their roster, the Cowboys are presently seventh within the NFL in operating again spending for 2023. They’ve allotted $13.9 million to the place, which solely trails groups with true bell-cow backs like Tennessee, Cleveland and the New York Giants. That is what occurs once you franchise tag Tony Pollard to the tune of $10.1 million.
That is necessary for a few causes.
Firstly, Cook dinner ought to nonetheless command a wholesome wage on the open market. Certain, he isn’t going to see the identical greenback determine he had in Minnesota, the place he had a $12.6 million wage. At 28 years previous coming into this season, although, and with four-straight 1,100-yard seasons on his resume at cheap per-carry effectivity, Cook dinner ought to nonetheless be capable of command a strong quantity. With the added cap house from Elliott’s post-June 1 launch, it is an expense the Cowboys can afford. This can be a place, nonetheless, that we repeatedly see could be successfully addressed with small expenditures.
[The Cowboys are about to double their cap space. What can they do with it?]
There’s additionally the problem of function. Cook dinner has toted the rock 249 or extra instances in every of the final 4 seasons. He took 65% of the Vikings’ carries final 12 months. And whereas he might not count on to get the identical diploma of touches, he is nonetheless clearly able to being a lead again.
The Cowboys have that in Pollard, who is 2 years youthful than Cook dinner, has 772 fewer touches on his odometer and is anticipated to be absolutely wholesome for coaching camp. One of many advantages of Pollard usually seeing decreased work behind Elliott these previous couple of years is that he’s primed to hold a bigger load in his first actual alternative because the starter.
It will be naïve to say signing Cook dinner could be unfair to Pollard, as a result of that is not how professional soccer works. However it’s honest to surprise if there are sufficient snaps to go round for 2 Professional Bowl gamers, considered one of whom is already costing the workforce $10 million.
Hopkins’ scenario is comparable, which is why the Cowboys have proven little interest in pursuing him. However no less than Hopkins performs a place that requires a number of vital property. You want no less than two, if not three high quality receivers within the fashionable NFL, and Michael Gallup’s harm historical past mixed with Brandin Cooks‘ age is simply sufficient to make that believable.
Right here, not a lot. Pollard is positioned to the Cowboys’ bell cow no less than for 2023 — we’ll see in regards to the future. Behind him, there’s an skilled (and cheap) backup in Ronald Jones II and a duo of intriguing prospects in Deuce Vaughn and Malik Davis.
Wouldn’t it be good to have extra skilled depth? Certain. Jones solely carried the ball 17 instances for 70 yards final season and Davis has simply 38 profession carries. It will likely be attention-grabbing to see simply how a lot of a task Vaughn, a sixth-round decide, can carve out for himself.
However Dalvin Cook dinner isn’t skilled depth; he’s a starter who will count on starter-caliber cash. If the Cowboys determine they need extra behind Pollard, they’ll look forward to training-camp roster cuts, or they’ll flip towards different veterans — Jerry Jones refuses to shut the door on a reunion with Elliott, in any case. The purpose being, there are methods to seek out that manufacturing with out the added funding.
None of that is to say Cook dinner is washed up. Odds are, with the total market out there to him, he will decide an excellent scenario with a becoming workforce and excel. The purpose is extra that, for the primary time shortly, the Cowboys have an opportunity to get cheaper and youthful at operating again. There is not any sense in squandering that now.
David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand spent 9 seasons protecting the Cowboys for the workforce’s official web site. In 2018, he received a regional Emmy for his function in producing “Dak Prescott: A Household Reunion” in regards to the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Comply with him on Twitter at @davidhelman_.
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