Cowboys Could Surprisingly Cut ‘Big-Name’ Player: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could considering moving on from RB Ezekiel Elliott.

The Dallas Cowboys could surprisingly move on from one of their “big-name” players this offseason.

As the Cowboys enter the offseason, they’ll have a number of priorities on their checklist. For one, they’ll look to re-sign Pro Bowl running back Tony Pollard. Secondly, they’ll also likely prioritize re-signing tight end Dalton Schultz after giving him the franchise tag for the 2022 season.

In order to make those two things happen, they’ll have to address the contract of star running back Ezekiel Elliott. The three-time Pro Bowl running back is due to earn $10.9 million in base salary and will have a cap hit of $16.7 million during the 2023 season — the second-highest mark of any player at his position in the league.

According to David Kenyon of Bleacher Report, Elliott is a “big-name” player who could be cut during the 2023 offseason.

“This possibility hinges on Tony Pollard healing as expected from his fractured fibula,” says Kenyon. “If he does, though, the Dallas Cowboys have reason to re-sign him and shift Pollard into the featured spot over Ezekiel Elliott. And save a whole lot of money.”

Why Cowboys Could Considering Cutting Ezekiel Elliott

As Kenyon brings up, the main reasoning here is money. It also doesn’t support Elliott’s cause that his production continues to decline at an alarming rate. While he continues to be a valuable piece when it pertains to short-yardage and goal-line situations — he ran for 12 touchdowns this season, ranking fifth in the league — his lack of explosion is concerning.

Elliott averaged just 3.8 yards per carry this season, a career-low mark. The fact that Pollard ran for 5.2 yards per carry behind the same offensive line speaks volumes.

Ezekiel Elliott Willing to Take Pay Cut to Remain With Cowboys

In Elliott’s defense, he has been vocal about returning to the Cowboys, making his stance clear following the team’s 19-12 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

“I want to be here. I don’t have a crystal ball, can’t you tell the future. But I definitely want to be here,” he told reporters gathered by his locker after the game.

Not long after Elliott’s comments, Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News reported that Elliott is willing to take a pay cut to make a return to the Cowboys for an eighth season.

“The running back is willing to accept a pay cut this offseason, recognizing that a reduced salary can better fit him into the franchise’s plans, a person familiar with Elliott’s thinking told The Dallas Morning News on Monday afternoon,” said Gehlken on Monday, January 23. “He is currently scheduled to earn a $10.9 million salary in 2023.”

If Elliott is willing to take a pay cut, it’s hard to envision Dallas not bringing him back — especially when considering Pollard is coming off of a serious injury and has never proven to be a full-time back.

Team owner Jerry Jones stressed the value of his veteran back during the middle of the 2022 season when he was sidelined for two games.

“There’s no argument,” Jones said of Elliott’s value back in October. “Zeke’s ability to punish, Zeke’s ability to deliver, Zeke’s ability, what he does for us in pass protection, and, frankly, Zake’s ability to make big plays are there, and we’re going to go where Zeke goes. He’s that integral to our success.”

All things considered, the more likely scenario sees the Cowboys bringing Elliott back rather than cutting him.

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