A “bold” scenario could see the Dallas Cowboys reunite with one of their former star players.
As predicted by Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr, he expects the Cowboys to re-sign running back Ezekiel Elliott. The 27-year-old running back was released by Dallas earlier in the offseason due to salary cap reasons. As Orr points out, there aren’t a great number of running back options right now for the Cowboys as Tony Pollard returns from a serious injury suffered during the playoffs last season.
“There are seemingly not a great deal of other options for Dallas at this point, when you really look at it,” writes Orr. “Behind Tony Pollard are a slew of unproven commodities. Pollard is coming off a serious injury. The run game is going to be instrumental to Dallas’s success.”
Why the Cowboys Might Miss Ezekiel Elliott
Pollard is coming off of a broken fibula injury suffered in the divisional round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. While he’s expected back for training camp, there are questions as to whether or not he can handle the full-time load at running back.
It’s worth noting that while Pollard led the team in rushing last season — 1,007 to Elliott’s 876 rushing yards — it was Elliott who handled the majority of the rushing load, 231 to Pollard’s 193 carries. Furthermore, it was Elliott who started 14 games with Pollard starting four. Pollard has started just six games during his four-year career.
The Cowboys have attempted to shore up their depth chart at running back by signing veteran Ronald Jones and selecting Deuce Vaughn during the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. However, Jones appeared in just six games last season while Vaughn’s stature (5-foot-5, 176 pounds) slots him as more of a change-of-pace back rather than one who sees major carries.
In an interesting twist, Orr also urges the Cowboys’ chief rivals — the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants — to sign Elliott to prevent the former three-time Pro Bowl running back from re-signing with Dallas.
“If I were, say, the Giants or the Eagles, I would swallow the $3 million to $6 million or so it would take to get Elliott out of the hands of a rival, not because he’s that good, but because he could represent the difference between the bottom falling out in Dallas or not,” writes Orr.
Cowboys Continue to Leave Door Open on Ezekiel Elliott’s Return
Since releasing Elliott from his six-year, $90 million contract, the Cowboys repeatedly have left the door open on bringing the veteran back into the fold.
“Ship has not sailed,” team owner Jerry Jones said back in April on potentially bringing Elliott back. “We haven’t made a decision. We’ve obviously drafted a running back (Vaughn), a little different style than Zeke, but it doesn’t change… For us, as far as our interest in Zeke nothing we did today changes that.”
Jones stressed that Dallas will continue to monitor their running back situation when it pertains to potentially bringing Elliott back into the fold.
“That’s what we’ll be sitting here evaluating and look and see what his situation is [and] what our situation is,” Jones said. “But I haven’t ruled out Zeke.”
The Cowboys may wait until the start of the season to see how their running game looks without Elliott. If Dallas struggles in the absence of their former franchise running back, it may not take too long before they seek a potential reunion with the former rushing champion.