The New York Jets running back confirmed to reporters Thursday he's not happy with his usage six games into the season, saying: "I want to play," "I want the situation to be best for both sides" and "Of course I'm frustrated," according to SNY's Connor Hughes.
Such quotes ring loudly with the NFL trade deadline less than a week away, with Cook having a high chance to be dealt.
Cook joined the Jets shortly before the season on a one-year, $8.6 million deal, two months after being released by the Minnesota Vikings, where he played the first six seasons of his career. At the time, the move was seen as a Pro Bowl running back joining the Aaron Rodgers bandwagon and adding another weapon to a loaded Jets offense.
There were concerns, however, about how the Jets would balance carries for Cook and Hall, who was returning to the field after a torn ACL cut short an electric rookie year. As it turned out, there should have been concerns. For Cook.
Through six games this season, Hall has outperformed Cook in about every conceivable measure, and the discrepancy is growing. In the Jets' two most recent games before their bye last week, Hall has seen 34 carries to Cook's nine.
Cook, who posted a career-low 4.4 yards per game last season, apparently thinks the solution to his issues is more carries:
"If you watch my career, you know the type of back I am. I get better and better as the game goes. More touches, feeling the defense out. The more touches I get, the better I get as the game goes. ... The carries I get, I do what I can. I try to be explosive. Situational, I try to do what the team needs to be done. That's where we're at.
He later added: "Average would be down if you leave a game with three carries."
Cook had three carries in his last game.
It's probably worth noting that the numbers don't exactly bear out as Cook being a running back who gets better as the game goes on. There's nothing wrong with viewing yourself as that, but here are Cook's career yards per carry in each quarter and overtime, in order: 4.7, 4.5, 5.0, 4.4, 3.8.
Cook later said he believes he's the same running back he was when he was posting four straight 1,000-yard seasons with the Vikings, then asked a reporter what was different. The reporter answered "less touches," to which Cook responded "That's it."
Does Dalvin Cook want a trade?
With Hall clearly not going anywhere barring an injury, the Jets' option might be to see if another team wants to take a chance on a veteran running back who didn't fit in their offense, or at least the version that was missing Rodgers.
Cook himself apparently isn't pushing for a trade:
"I'm not going into [Jets general manager Joe Douglas'] office and telling him I want to be somewhere or anything like that. I'm just sharpening my mind, ready to go. I'm going to let the business side handle that. I think when a player gets into the business side, it kinda dictates how you go about your day, every day.
The Jets' final showcase before the trade deadline will be Sunday against the New York Giants. The deadline itself is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.