Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that the Vikings could trade Dalvin Cook this offseason. Now that free agency is officially underway, it looks like the potential for such a trade could already be on life support. Today, we’re going to talk about all of the RB events that could mean a potential trade ends.
The Miami Dolphins are filling out their backfield
One of the best teams to trade Cook was the Miami Dolphins. That is, until Wednesday, when they quickly filled their RB needs by re-signing the same players they employed last season. Rahim Mostert signed a two-year, $5.6 million contract meanwhile Jeff Wilson re-signed on a two-year deal worth up to $8.2 million.
Not only does this trade knock out a team that could trade for Cook, but it also clarifies what types of contracts are being handed out to running backs this offseason. Teams don’t seem to be spending a lot of money at the position this offseason, and further proof of that came when the Detroit Lions brought in David Montgomery, a player who has recorded 1,000+ yards in his first two seasons. A three-year deal worth $18 million and $11 million guaranteed.
As a reminder, Cook will make $14.1 million in 2023, $15.6 million in 2024 and $14.5 million in 2025. These are hits that few, if any, will be interested in going back. approaching his 30s.
Ezekiel Elliott has been released
This free agency class is already a deep group, and it got a little deeper on Wednesday afternoon. With Tony Pollard in their backfield in recent years, the Cowboys are set to release Ezekiel Elliott to save $10.9 million in cap space.
Elliott was due $16.72 million this season, and now the three-time Pro Bowler is set to hit free agency, adding his name to a list of RBs that already included names like Damien Harris, Kareem Hunt and Jamaal Williams. Why give up the initial cap and pay big for a RB when you can sign one of these players?
Austin Ekeler Trade Request
In the wake of the Cook trade potential, it now appears that the Vikings RB may no longer even be the best RB on the trade market. Austin Ekeler asked the Los Angeles Chargers for permission to seek a trade on Monday, and Los Angeles granted him that permission on Tuesday.
Ekeler has been the heart and soul of the Chargers’ offense over the past two seasons, posting over 1,500 yards and leading the league in total touchdowns. This is a running back who could completely transform an offense as both a runner and a receiver while carrying just $7.75 million in cap space in 2023.
Because of this, teams will likely be much more interested in trading for Ekeler than for Cook, thus potentially eliminating more options for the veteran Vikings.
In total, Minnesota could save up to $9 million by marking Cook as a post-June 1 cut, so if the Vikings are going to part ways with the veteran RB this offseason, that’s probably the more likely route than a trade.
Josh Frey is a 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a BA in Creative Writing.. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account. @Freyed_Chicken.