Dalvin Cook contract details: How Jets RB’s new deal compares to Ezekiel Elliott contract, more

Hours after the Patriots inked Ezekiel Elliott to a one-year contract, the Jets got their man.

New York agreed to a deal with Dalvin Cook on Monday, after multiple weeks of public flirtations including a successful visit by Cook to Jets camp.

Cook was released by the Vikings in June and primarily received interest from the AFC East. The hometown Dolphins were expected to be a frontrunner for Cook’s services, but they never pushed hard for the four-time Pro-Bowler and appear to be content with their deep backfield.

The Patriots, meanwhile, were known to be scouring the running back market. They settled on Elliott to serve as the change-of-pace back behind Rhamondre Stevenson.

With Cook in tow, the Jets will be able to give the veteran plenty of early-season touches and bring Breece Hall along slowly after last year’s ACL tear.

MORE: What Dalvin Cook’s signing means for Breece Hall

Here’s a closer look at Cook’s contract with the Jets.

Dalvin Cook contract details

The Jets gave Cook a one-year contract worth up to $8.6 million, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

According to The Washington Post’s Mark Maske, Cook will receive a $7 million salary, with an additional $1.6 million available via incentives. Cook’s maximum value is $2.6 million more than Elliott’s deal with the Patriots, and his base salary is $3 million more than Elliott’s base salary plus signing bonus.

Even at the minimum $7 million, Cook’s deal is the largest signed by a free-agent running back this offseason in terms of annual value. Miles Sanders signed a deal with the Panthers worth $6.25 million annually, while David Montgomery’s contract with the Lions comes in at $6 million annually.

Below is a look at the backs to sign for more than $3 million per season this offseason, per Spotrac.com:

Player Annual salary Team
Dalvin Cook $7 million Jets
Miles Sanders $6.25 million Panthers
David Montgomery $6 million Lions
Ezekiel Elliott $6 million Cowboys
Jamaal Williams $4 million Lions
Samaje Perine $3.75 million Broncos
Alexander Mattison $3.5 million Vikings
Jeff Wilson Jr. $3 million Dolphins

MORE: How the Jets transformed their offense in one offseason

It’s been a difficult offseason for running backs, even beyond players who hit the open market. Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs both failed to reach long-term agreements with their respective teams after being franchise-tagged, though Barkley agreed to a revised one-year deal worth as much as $11 million.

Pelissero reported in June that Cook was “not coming in for $4 or $5 million” and would seek a “significant” contract. That turned out to be accurate, though it’s not clear whether this was actually the deal Cook was looking for when he first hit the open market.

Highest-paid NFL running backs

Below is a list of the NFL’s highest-paid running backs according to average annual base salary, per Spotrac.

Barkley and Cook both have more money available via incentives, as Barkley can make up to $11 million this season while Cook’s Jets deal is worth up to $8.6 million.

Player Annual salary Team
Christian McCaffrey $16 million 49ers
Alvin Kamara $15 million Saints
Derrick Henry $12.5 million Titans
Nick Chubb $12.2 million Browns
Aaron Jones $12 million Packers
Saquon Barkley $10.1 million Giants
Tony Pollard $10.1 million Cowboys
Josh Jacobs $10.1 million Raiders
Dalvin Cook $7 million Jets
James Conner $7 million Cardinals

Cook slots in as the ninth-highest-paid running back in the NFL, with or without incentives. Only eight running backs are making more than $10 million annually, though three of them are playing on the franchise tag. 

No running back has signed a contract worth more than $12 million annually since Nick Chubb inked a long-term deal with the Browns in July 2021.