Ezekiel Elliott’s time with the Dallas Cowboys may not be over after all.
The Cowboys parted ways with Elliott on March 15 in a significant cap-saving move, bringing an end to his highly-decorated seven-season stint with the team. He led the league in rushing twice and was named to a trio of Pro Bowls. Elliott ranks third all-time in franchise rushing yards (8,262) and rushing TDs (68).
However, Elliott is coming off a year where he rushed for a career-low 876 yards. He did find the end zone a dozen times but he managed just 3.8 yards per carry. It’s led to some limited interest for Elliott as a free agent and the Cowboys are still keeping an eye on him.
“I never shut the door never relative to the potential to smartly add to our team for this year,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Monday, June 5. “I will tell you that 99% of my thinking is about this year. Now you got to think about the impact on other years when you make these decisions. So you name it, whether it be Zeke whether it be where we are with like the guys we worked out here today. So it’s all wide open for me.”
Jones also disclosed that the Cowboys have not spoken to Elliott or his reps since his release, although Elliott has been working out with former teammates like Dak Prescott.
“I wouldn’t want to get into the nature of how we’ve done it,” Jones said. “And certainly, it’s no secret that Zeke is evaluating what his opportunities are and we’re evaluating what we’re doing as well.”
Cowboys Believe Ezekiel Elliott Has Good Football Left
The Cowboys are going to rely on Tony Pollard as their lead back, although he’s coming off injuries he suffered in the postseason. Dallas doesn’t have a proven short-yardage back and Elliott could fill that role.
”Dallas still believes that he’s got football left,” NFL Network’s Garafolo said on June 3. “Now he’s not going to be the lead back there, obviously, if he does return there.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy made it clear that it wasn’t so much about Elliott’s talent that led to his release. It was more about the “capanomics” of it all.
“Business [and] capanomics, that’s real,” McCarthy said. “You have to make decisions and sometimes those decisions factor into the next decision or two that’s coming down the road.”
The Cowboys have around $20 million in cap space remaining, per Over The Cap, and could fit Elliott in at the right price.
Cowboys ‘Unlikely’ to Sign Free Agent WR DeAndre Hopkins
Jones rarely shuts the door on any signing, with the situation with Elliott serving as evidence of that. But one player the Cowboys appear to be out of the mix on is former All-Pro wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. Jerry Jones said his Cowboys are “unlikely” to sign Hopkins. Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones clarified the team’s stance, backing the current receiver group they have in place.
“He’s not on this team right now,” Stephen Jones said. “We went down the road with Cooks. We’re very comfortable with Cooks. We’re pleased with our receiving group.”
Hopkins is coming off a down year with the Arizona Cardinals, playing in just nine games due to a PED suspension and late-season injury. He still managed 64 catches for 717 yards but found the end zone just three times. Hopkins played just 10 games in 2021.