In a possible indication that Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys suffered a genuine snag in negotiations, the team on Monday promoted running back Jordan Chunn from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, per ESPN’s Todd Archer.
Rookie offensive lineman Connor McGovern, who sustained two pectoral injuries this offseason, was sent to injured reserve in a corresponding roster move. McGovern will be eligible to return after Dallas’ Week 8 bye.
Chunn, a 2018 undrafted free agent, was among a trio of RBs who helped replace Elliott this summer. He appeared in all four preseason games, carrying 16 times for 49 yards and adding nine receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.
A five-year contributor at Troy, Chunn (6-0, 239) registered 3,124 rushing yards and 47 TDs in 49 career games from 2013-17. He averaged a solid but unspectacular 4.6 yards per tote on 679 attempts.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared Chunn to former Chargers bruiser Mike Tolbert.
“Chunn is a big back with the heavy pads to operate with power, but he’s got nimble feet for a big man and isn’t just a one-trick pony,” Zierlein wrote. “Chunn is versatile enough to handle short-yardage carries and third-down, blitz-protection duties. Chunn has the ability to compete for a backup running back spot and may be a competent enough blocker to transition into a fullback role if need be.”
Chunn joins defacto starter Tony Pollard, veteran Alfred Morris and fullback Jamize Olawale in the Cowboys’ Zeke-less backfield. The team also stashed rookie RB Mike Weber on the taxi squad Sunday.
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Elliott ‘Not Close’ With Cowboys
After previously reporting the Cowboys were “close” to locking down Elliott with a lucrative, long-term contract extension, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson posted a discouraging update Sunday night, claiming the club grew “frustrated” by the reigning rushing champion’s latest (undisclosed) demand.
“Update on Zeke Elliott and the #Cowboys: the two sides communicated in the late afternoon,” Robinson tweeted. “Dallas is frustrated with the last exchange. After Saturday’s momentum, Cowboys expected more compromise to get a deal done today. Didn’t happen, so it’s on to Monday and a hopeful reset.”
On Monday, NFL Network’s Jane Slater piggybacked off Robinson’s hearsay, reporting that discussions continued Sunday evening but ultimately didn’t move the needle on Elliott’s supposed desire to top Todd Gurley as the league’s richest RB.
“When I asked what’s holding it up the answer was the same as last month ‘everything,'” Slater tweeted.
The Cowboys return to The Star on Monday to begin preparation for Sunday’s regular season-opener against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Pollard is slated to run with the first-stringers in Elliott’s stead, with Morris handling direct backup duties.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL