It’s reasonable for New York Jets fans to be excited these days. The Jets obviously acquired four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers this offseason, and now Rodgers has taken an unprecedented near-$35 million pay cut to play for them this season. Packers fans are certainly going to lose some sleep over that one.
Along with the excitement of adding Rodgers, this team also boasts the NFL’s Rookie of the Year from last year both offensively and defensively. And those two guys — WR Garrett Wilson and CB Sauce Gardner — only represent 2/3 of the team’s first-round picks from the 2022 NFL Draft. Another absolute stud from the 2022 NFL Draft class for the Jets was running back Breece Hall, a second-round pick who probably would have (literally) run away with Offensive Rookie of the Year honors had it not been for a knee injury suffered against the Denver Broncos last season.
And it is Hall’s knee injury last year that leads us to where we are right now, which is with the New York Jets reportedly hosting free agent running back Dalvin Cook on a visit.
Head coach Robert Saleh said that Cook’s visit doesn’t mean anything negative regarding the health of Breece Hall, but what else is he supposed to say to the media?
The optics of this, especially given the timing, are very much contrary to what Saleh is portraying to the media. The Jets bringing in Dalvin Cook at the start of training camp after seeing Hall out there on the field for a couple of days is extremely telling of what the team is projecting from him this season.
In a perfect world, Breece Hall would be 100 percent recovered by the start of the season. In that perfect world, he would be the featured back in this Jets’ offense, meaning there would be no need for a player of Dalvin Cook’s caliber to join the team. The Jets already have capable reserve running backs. So why bring in Dalvin Cook? And why would Cook agree to play second-fiddle behind Breece Hall?
Are the Jets really the only team that wants to sign him?
I don’t think that’s the case. I think the Jets are trying to get out ahead of having to bring Breece Hall along much more slowly than they wanted or maybe even anticipated. It shouldn’t be unexpected, either. The injury Hall sustained against Denver occurred on October 23 last year, just about nine months ago. Not everyone makes it back from major knee injuries in 9 months or less. Thanks a lot, Adrian Peterson.
Hall started off training camp on the PUP for the Jets. That’s obviously not season-ending IR, but it’s also still significant. The Jets could have signed Cook a month ago if they were really just trying to pair him up with Breece Hall this season. The fact that they waited until they got to training camp to make that determination tells you everything you need to know.
Hopefully, we see Hall return to form as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the Jets have a chance to add a proven star at the running back position. But any signing of Dalvin Cook by New York would be bittersweet at best, considering what it means beneath the surface.