There is plenty to watch on the NFL running back rumor mill right now.
Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders) and Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) still haven’t signed new contracts. Both men were handed the franchise tag by their respective clubs earlier this offseason, and the July 17 deadline to sign an extension is coming up.
On top of that, the Minnesota Vikings released four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook from his contract last week. Teams have since started mandatory minicamp, and the 27-year-old Cook remains a free agent.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio proposed an intriguing scenario for the Raiders: To take the franchise tag off of Jacobs and then pivot to Cook:
“Jacobs won’t accept their best offer on a long-term deal (the deadline for finalizing a multi-year contract is July 17), it would make sense to consider their options. And they could, in theory, pursue Dalvin Cook as a potential replacement for Jacobs.
There’s a tangible link between the Raiders and Cook. Raiders running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu worked in that same position for the Vikings from 2017 — Cook’s rookie year — through 2021. That’s five years of experience, between position coach and player. It gives the Raiders a level of information and intelligence about Cook that most other teams don’t have.”
If Jacobs were to agree to play 2023 under the franchise tag, the cost for the Raiders would be $10.1 million. Given the decreased market for veteran running backs, the Raiders would probably be able to get Cook for considerably less than that.
Jacobs led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,653 yards to go along with 12 rushing touchdowns. He also had his best season yet as a pass-catcher, recording 53 receptions for 400 yards.
In his final season for the Vikings, Cook had 1,173 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Cook has exceeded 1,000 rushing yards in each of the last four seasons, and he was instrumental in helping Minnesota to the NFC North division crown last year.
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