The Cleveland Browns are looking for a veteran running back and have been dubbed one of the most likely landing spots for former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys parted ways with Elliott on March 15 in a cap-saving move, bringing an end to his seven-season tenure with the team. It was a decorated one, with Elliott earning two rushing titles and a trio of Pro Bowl selections.
Elliott — who is 27 with some wear and tear — hasn’t had much interest as a free agent but the Browns and Chargers have been dubbed as the “most likely landing spots” for his services, per Robert Gullo of Sportskeeda.
“A league insider told Sportskeeda that the most likely landing spots for Ezekiel Elliott are either the Cleveland Browns or the Los Angeles Chargers,” Gullo reported on May 15.
Chargers More Logical Home for Ezekiel Elliott Than Browns
The Chargers seem like a more logical destination than the Browns, who have Nick Chubb as their primary back. A veteran backup would be nice but Cleveland is looking for someone who could make more of an impact in the passing game.
At this point in his career, Elliott is more of a short-yardage specialist, scoring 12 touchdowns for the Cowboys last season. Outside of that, Elliott’s numbers were rough. He is coming off a year where he rushed for a career-low 876 yards and managed just 3.8 yards per carry.
The Chargers hired former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore this offseason, which gives Elliott a clear link to the team.
“The fact that his former offensive coordinator in Dallas, Kellen Moore, is now running the entire offense with the Chargers makes a lot of sense,” the source told Sportskeeda. “Elliott, paired with Chargers starting running back Austin Ekeler, would give the Chargers arguably one of the most lethal running back tandems in all of football – one that would feature elusiveness, power and speed.”
The issue with Elliott could be his price tag. He was one of the highest-paid running backs in the league during his time in Dallas but Elliott will have to take on a smaller role and salary at his next stop. His former running backs coach Skip Peete — now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — pointed to that when discussing Elliott’s future.
“I think that’s part of the reason he’s sitting out there,” Peete said, via Tampa Bay Times. “If you’re going to play, I mean, you’re going to be the second and third guy. That’s kind of what the price is. So. that’s something that a person has to be able to see that that is what it is going to be.”
Browns Haven’t Shut Door on Kareem Hunt Reunion
The Browns could turn to a familiar face in their search for a veteran back with Kareem Hunt. His previous season didn’t go as planned with the Browns but coming back on a cheap deal and teaming up with Nick Chubb could be among his best options.
Hunt finished last season with 468 yards on 123 carries, averaging 3.8 yards per carry.
Cleveland has not completely shut the door on a reunion, although it comes down to how much the team feels he could contribute after a down season.
“I don’t know that we’ve necessarily shut the door on anything,” Browns GM Andrew Berry said in May when asked directly about Hunt. “Look, we’re not playing games until September, so we’ll remain open-minded to anything that can help the team.”