Jets Named Finalist for Ex-Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Despite RB Signing: Report

Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Running back Ezekiel Elliott with the Dallas Cowboys in 2022.

The New York Jets have re-signed another one of their own, inking running back and core special teamer Ty Johnson on a one-year deal according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That news made the next Schefter bomb even more confusing, as the NFL insider revealed not long after that “[Dallas] Cowboys’ [former] RB Ezekiel Elliott has narrowed down his options about where to play to the [Philadelphia] Eagles, Jets and [Cincinnati] Bengals.” Schefter added that “he would like to make his decision about where to sign by the end of next week, per sources.”

He also noted in a second tweet that “Aaron Rodgers would be a lure to the Jets.”

Jets Could Have Crowded Backfield in 2023

With Breece Hall returning from injury and promising ball carriers like Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight already on the roster — plus Johnson and the potential of Elliott — this is shaping up to be a crowded backfield heading into the 2023 season.

Perhaps the Jets don’t feel Hall will be ready for Week 1. Despite the second-round talent’s optimism, it’s certainly possible that he misses a couple of weeks considering he tore his ACL last October.

Having said that, what would a pursuit of Elliott say about the faith in Carter and Knight? You’d typically expect a fourth-round RB that was drafted two years ago to be able to fill-in a few weeks. Knight has also shown promise after joining the Jets as an undrafted prospect in 2022.

The long-time Cowboys star was a cap casualty this winter after rushing for a career-low 3.8 yards per carry in 2022. He would bring with him a wealth of experience, but he’d also come with another superstar personality in a jam-packed locker room.

Elliott has offered solid dual-threat ability throughout his NFL tenure as well, with a career catch percentage of 75.9% and an above average skill set as a pass-blocker. He will become the fifth running back on the roster if he signs with the Jets, and most likely slot in as Hall’s primary backup heading into camp.

Ty Johnson’s Special Teams Role Earns Him Another Contract With Jets

Many were surprised when Johnson survived the final roster cutdown last August, but solidifying a role on Brant Boyer’s special teams unit has helped the reserve ball carrier earn his keep.

Not only was Johnson the backup kick returner to Braxton Berrios in 2021 and 2022, but he also registered 61 snaps on kick return coverage, 41 on punt return, and another 21 on punt return coverage according to Pro Football Focus. By the way, when he wasn’t returning kicks, he was typically blocking for Berrios with 71 total kick return snaps last year.

All told, Johnson’s special teams snap count ranked seventh for the entire Jets roster, making him a core member of Boyer’s unit.

On offense, Johnson has also shown some ability as a third-down back despite a brief propensity for dropped passes in 2021. He’s unlikely to sniff the field if the Jets end up signing Elliott, but could factor into the early-season RB rotation if they hold off on bringing in a veteran — assuming Hall isn’t fully healthy.

Outside of that, Johnson projects as a bubble candidate in training camp that will once again be up against the odds as he attempts to prove his special teams merit is worthy of a roster spot this summer.

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