Cowboys Have Made Final Call on Ezekiel Elliott Reunion: Report

Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The Dallas Cowboys leaving the door open on a reunion with Ezekiel Elliott is out of respect more than reality.

The Cowboys have expressed how hard it was to part ways with Elliott, who had become a pillar of the franchise during his seven seasons with the team both with his play and as a locker-room presence.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently expressed some interest in a potential reunion.

“Well, that was on the table, and you might say to some degree that hasn’t changed and won’t until he signs someplace else,” Jones said at the NFL owners’ meeting in Phoenix. “I don’t want to leave him hanging, our fans hanging, or anybody, but I wouldn’t take any possibility off the table.”

Cowboys insider David Moore of the Dallas Morning News gave a clear response to the scuttlebutt around Elliott landing back with the Cowboys.

“He won’t,” Moore reported on Tuesday. “The club gave his No. 21 to corner Stephon Gilmore. Stephen Jones acknowledged the Cowboys didn’t even present Elliott with a reduced offer in an effort to keep him. The reason: respect. The number that would make sense to keep Elliott on this roster is one he wouldn’t accept.”

Moore thinks the next time Elliott — a two-time rushing leader — will be a part of the Cowboys will be on the day he hangs up his cleats.

“The club wants him back the day he decides to retire so he can sign that one-day contract to do it with a star on his helmet,” Moore said. “They want him to feel good about this organization once his career is done.”

Cowboys Had ‘No Joy’ in Releasing Elliott

By parting ways with Elliott, the Cowboys saved nearly $11 million against the cap. That’s a significant number and Dallas has put it to use this offseason. The big number combined with Elliott’s drop in production and the emergence of Tony Pollard — who received the franchise tag — made it a logical decision.

Still, it didn’t make it an easy one for Jones and the Cowboys, who have faced similar circumstances with other stars.

“There was no joy when Emmitt [Smith] went to Arizona. There was no joy when DeMarcus [Ware] went to Denver,” Jones said.  “But you look up and there’s a lot of goodwill still between DeMarcus and the Cowboys. You see him around the building all the time. Emmitt Smith you see around the building all the time.

“I think for the most part we’ve worked through these tough situations in a good way and hopefully we’re doing it in spades with Zeke because there’s nothing but love and respect for Zeke Elliott.”

Cowboys Didn’t Issue Offer to Elliott to Stick Around

There were rumors that Elliott could take a pay cut to stay in Dallas but Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said there was never an offer made. His fear was that it would have been disrespectful.

“The last thing we want to do is 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,’’ Stephen Jones said. “There are sensitivities when you get into making offers.’’

As of now, Elliott is still in search of his next team. He might have to wait a little longer as teams work through the draft and what has been touted as a deep running back class.

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