Dalvin Cook connection to Browns could be game-changing gift before playoffs

Dalvin Cook was released by the New York Jets and wants to join a contender. Could his ties to Kevin Stefanski lead to him joining the Cleveland Browns?

Dalvin Cook, Browns
Dalvin Cook, Browns / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

After losing Nick Chubb in Week 2, the Cleveland Browns continued to be one of the top rushing teams in the NFL but they were never consistent. They've also seen their efficiency in this department wane late in the season. That's why it would make sense for them to go after Dalvin Cook, who was just released by the New York Jets.

Cook, who spent six years with the Minnesota Vikings, had 5,993 yards on the ground and 1,794 as a receiver to start his career. He managed to score 52 touchdowns as well for the Vikings. He was released ahead of the 2023 campaign and landed with the Jets, where he's hardly seen the field.

Despite appearing in 15 games, Cook had just 67 rushing attempts for 214 yards and 15 receptions for 78 yards. He ends his time with the Jets without a touchdown. Cook, who wants to play for a contender, re-worked his deal so he could be released. He's now on waivers but teams might not claim him if he makes it clear he wants to pick his next destination.

Browns have advantage in Dalvin Cook sweepstakes

One thing that helps the Browns when it comes to pursuing Cook would be the connection he has with Kevin Stefanski. The Cleveland head coach was with Minnesota for four seasons with Cook. He took over as the interim offensive coordinator in 2018 and remained in that role in 2019.

Cook had 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground in 2019 as well as career highs in receptions (53) and receiving yards (513). They're also the team with the clearest path to a starting job for Cook, should he prove he's capable of carrying the load.

As is often the case with running backs, there's a concern that he might have lost a step after registering 3.2 yards per run this year. But he was also hardly utilized and the Browns have a superior run-blocking game to New York. This feels like a low-risk, high-reward move that could improve an area of weakness.

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