The Minnesota Vikings are on the verge of releasing longtime Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook. He’s been one of the best backs in football, rushing for over 1,100 yards in each of his last four seasons. But the running back shelf life is a short one and soon enough, he’ll be looking for a new home as, alongside WR DeAndre Hopkins, the top free agents on the market.
In analyzing what next stop makes the most sense for Cook, Fox Sports 1’s Joy Taylor said on her show Speak Thursday the Pittsburgh Steelers are Cook’s best landing spot.
“I think he would be very interesting with the Steelers,” she said. “When I think about the Steelers’ offensive identity, they always have big and fast wide receivers. They always have a solid running game. Now they have Najee Harris but like [LeSean McCoy] said, it’s a two-back system pretty much everywhere you go now. They don’t want to wear someone down. And if you have a creative offensive coordinator, you can really utilize a guy like Dalvin Cook.”
There’s a lot to unpack there. It’s not really clear what the Steelers having big and fast wide receivers have to do with Dalvin Cook. And Pittsburgh has certainly not always had a solid running game, struggling to find consistent traction in recent years.
To be fair, that could be an argument to add someone like Cook. But it’s illogical in all the other ways. Pittsburgh was one of the last teams to have a workhorse back system but moved away from that last year when UDFA Jaylen Warren turned heads. He quickly took over the team’s third down-back role and increased his involvement in the run game throughout the season. No, he’s not the runner Cook is, but the Steelers firmly have their top two running backs on the depth chart in Harris and Warren. There’s no reason to add another top-name back. And no reason to believe Cook would want to come to Pittsburgh to fight for snaps.
And her comment about a “creative offensive coordinator” who can make Cook and the backfield work? Well…I’ll let you insert your own joke there.
None of that factors in contract, either. While it’s unclear what market Cook will see once he’s officially released (a move expected to happen Friday afternoon), it’ll certainly be out of Pittsburgh’s price range. While the Steelers may theoretically have the money to sign someone like Cook, they prefer to have a cheap room with Harris and Warren on their rookie deals. Pittsburgh will also have to decide on Harris’ 5th-year option next offseason. That’s the next line item on the team’s running back budget. Not giving a hefty contract to Cook, who turns 28 in August. Whatever deal Pittsburgh would offer Cook is one he wouldn’t want.
There’s no reason to believe the Steelers will be in play for Cook. Nor should they be. They have two runners they trust and who have had NFL success.
Cook’s most likely landing spot is with the Miami Dolphins, his hometown team. If Cook does sign in the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals make far more sense than the Steelers.
Suggesting Cook coming to Pittsburgh doesn’t make sense on any level and especially ignores the job Warren did for the team last season, typical of a national media who don’t follow each team that closely.