Ezekiel Elliott remains a free agent, and the former Dallas Cowboys star will have to remain patient in finding his next team.
Elliott was released by the Cowboys on March 15 in a significant cap-saving move. Though he has a résumé that can stack up with the elite running backs in the league, he’s shown some wear and tear, with his production dropping significantly in recent years. Last season, he ran for a career-low 876 yards on 3.8 yards per carry.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport expects there to be some level of interest in Elliott but says he shouldn’t expect a big contract.
“The visits are interesting, because, first of all, I do not know that he currently has a visit scheduled. I know there’s some interest. And the money’s going to be tough because as you know, like, teams are not spending all the money now. He [was] cut, so [that] doesn’t factor into the compensation-pick formula,” Rapoport said on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Monday, April 3. “But teams aren’t really spending a lot of money now. And at that position, like, there’s a lot of really good running backs in the draft — seems like a really deep running back draft.”
Ezekiel Elliott Will Have to Wait Until After Draft
Because of the depth available in the draft’s running back class, Rapoport said, Elliott would have to wait until after the April 27-29 draft to see where he fits in.
“He might take a visit over the next week or so. But a lot of times if you’re a veteran at that level — who’s done it for as many years as he has — you’re only taking a visit if there’s a deal,” Rapoport said. “I think what might happen with Zeke is that he’ll wait until after the draft, and if someone doesn’t get the premium running back they want, he slides in there and fills the need. But I think a lot of teams now are, like, ‘You know what? We’re getting close to the draft, let me see what I get.'”
Elliott put out a wish list of teams he’d like to play for, including the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals. Those squads have pushed back on their level of interest, although that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of the running.
Cowboys Didn’t Make Offer to Ezekiel Elliott Out of Respect
It wasn’t an easy decision for the Cowboys to part ways with Elliott, but his drop in production simply didn’t match his salary and they had a way out. By releasing Elliott, the Cowboys saved nearly $11 million against the cap.
Team executives and players have expressed their admiration for Elliott and what he brought to the franchise. However, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said it was out of respect that they never made an offer to retain Elliott.
“The last thing we want to do is do anything that would be insulting to a player, to a great player, like Zeke, who was one of the best players to ever put on a Cowboys uniform,” Jones said. “There are sensitivities when you get into making offers.”
Now Elliott will wait and see what awaits him as a free agent.