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Why Dalvin Cook's holdout might not go into training camp

The NFL's new collective bargaining agreement has stiff penalties for holdouts.
Dalvin Cook

The Minnesota Vikings received some bad news on Monday as a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter stated that Dalvin Cook will stay away from team-related activities as he looks for a "reasonable extension."

For some, this may invoke flashbacks to last season where Ezekiel Elliott sat out all of training camp waiting for a new deal from the Dallas Cowboys and Melvin Gordon waited until Week 4 to report while battling with the Los Angeles Chargers.

While the threat of holding out is used as a last resort in contract negotiations, the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement amplifies risk if a player like Cook skips training camp.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the new CBA requires players to report to their team by the mandatory date for training camp. If the player has not reported or at any point does not fulfill his contractual obligation to the team, that player will not accrue the final season of his rookie deal in order to become an unrestricted free agent.

Instead, Cook would become a restricted free agent after the 2020 season. In that scenario, the Vikings could apply a first-round tender worth $4 to $5 million to keep Cook and have the right to match any team's offer.

That's a far cry from what Cook would have received with the franchise tag, which checked in at $10.2 million this season for running backs, per Spotrac. 

That number is also well short of Cook's reported request, which ESPN's Courtney Cronin says is in the neighborhood of Christian McCaffrey's deal with the Carolina Panthers, which pays an annual value of $16 million.

However, KSTP-TV's Darren Wolfson and The Athletic's Chad Graff believe a deal similar to the one the Arizona Cardinals struck with David Johnson prior to the 2018 season at $13 million annually could get the job done.

Regardless, the threat of making half as much as he could if he reports to camp in a sense gives a firm deadline for Cook and the Vikings to get something done. 

Pelissero did note that both sides are optimistic a deal will happen. .

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