Cowboys Re-Signing Ezekiel Elliott Gains More Momentum

Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Ezekiel Elliott is still waiting on his next opportunity in the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys are leaving the door open for his potential return.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has floated the idea of bringing Elliott back multiple times this offseason, even after making some additions to the running back room through the draft and free agency. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that there’s a spot waiting for Elliott in Dallas if he wants it, but for right now, he’s keeping his options open.

“The Cowboys would welcome and embrace him,” Schefter said on “NFL Live.” “I think Zeke keeps waiting to see if there’s an opportunity that shakes loose, if there’s some team out there that’s willing to bring him in and pay him. There’s no rush for him, he can always go back to Dallas. So I think he’s waiting to see if something else materializes, while the Dallas Cowboys would be open to bringing him back, where he would make sense in that offense.”

Elliott is coming off a year where he rushed for a career-low 876 yards, managing just 3.8 yards per carry.

Ezekiel Elliott Has to Come to Terms With Less Money, Smaller Role

If Elliott waits it out, he could potentially get a larger deal with a team who loses a running back injury in training camp or otherwise. The Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals were the teams on Elliott’s “wish list” early on in free agency but the market hasn’t been kind to Elliott, with those teams expressing limited interest in his services.

Even if he does find a new home, Elliott will have to come to terms with his new reality, which his former running backs coach Skip Peete — now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — pointed out.

“I told him, ‘You’re going to play for $1 million and I think he was making like $12 (million),” Peete told the Tampa Bay Times in May. “Who’s gonna tell him that? I think that’s part of the reason he’s sitting out there. But if you’re going to play and be the second, third guy that’s kind of what the price is. That’s something that person has to make a decision if that’s what he wants to do.”

Cowboys Have Not Approached Ezekiel Elliott About Re-Signing

The Cowboys parting ways with Elliott in March was more about the business of football rather than the team’s assessment of his talent.

“Business [and] capanomics, that’s real,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said in reference to Elliott’s departure. “You have to make decisions and sometimes those decisions factor into the next decision or two that’s coming down the road.”

Jones said as recently as minicamp this week that the Cowboys are willing to sign any player who they’d dub a “smart” addition, in specific reference to Elliott.

“I never shut the door never relative to the potential to smartly add to our team for this year,” 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.”

The Cowboys are relying on Tony Pollard to be their lead back next season, fresh off a Pro Bowl campaign where he collected 1,378 scrimmage yards. But a reliable short-yardage back is something the Cowboys could be missing and Elliott proved he still has lots of juice left on that front, finding the end zone 12 times last season.

Jones said the Cowboys have yet to touch base with Elliott’s representation on the logistics of a reunion.

“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.”

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