Scouts Sound off on Cowboys Star’s Decline: ‘He Has Very Little Left’

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could move on from RB Ezekiel Elliott this offseason.

The Dallas Cowboys are being urged to move on from one of their biggest stars.

As Bob Sturm of The Athletic notes while answering questions from readers, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t have much of a market outside of Dallas.

“I think the answer is that given the number of analysts and scouts I have talked to about Elliott this year and the consensus opinion is in stone,” says Sturm. “He has very little left in his legs and the word is out. I believe he has one option for employment above the league minimum and it is right here in Dallas. I could be wrong, but if I am, it is a very low number. Maybe one year for $2 million or $2.5 million which is a far cry from what he is used to.”

Sturm on Ezekiel Elliott: ‘It is a Fast Decline’

Not only does Sturm hint that Elliott’s market value is only a little more than the league minimum — $1.165 million for a player with seven years of experience — he suggests that the Cowboys should move on from the veteran running back.

“It is a fast decline for players who run the ball and lose their legs and as good a guy as he has been for this room, I think Dallas should move on quickly,” said Sturm. “He reminds me a bit of Eddie Lacy when his legs went. He was great for about 2 1/2 years and then was out of the league in five. It just isn’t a longevity position for many. Adrian Peterson is the exception and we all know it. Sad, but true.”

The future of Elliott is one of the biggest topics surrounding the Cowboys entering the offseason. It’s assumed that Dallas will attempt to restructure the current contract of one of their highest-paid players, with Elliott earning a cap hit of $16.7 million for the 2023 season — the highest of any running back in the league.

According to a report from Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News, Elliott is willing to take a pay cut this offseason.

“The running back is willing to accept a pay cut this offseason, recognizing that a reduced salary can better fit him into the franchise’s plans, a person familiar with Elliott’s thinking told The Dallas Morning News on Monday afternoon,” said Gehlken on Jan. 23. “He is currently scheduled to earn a $10.9 million salary in 2023.”

Why Ezekiel Elliott May Still Have Future With Cowboys

There’s little doubt that Elliott’s skills are declining. The former Pro Bowl running back turned in his worst statistical season to date, rushing for just 876 yards on 3.8 yards per carry. However, despite his declining efficiency, Elliott remains the workhorse of the backfield, leading the team in carries with 231 attempts to Tony Pollard’s 193 attempts.

Another thing working in Elliott’s favor is that Pollard is coming off of a serious fibula injury that will sideline him deep into the offseason. Furthermore, Pollard has never proven to be a full-time back despite his effectiveness, having only carried more than 15 times in a single game just three times in his career.

With that being said, the Cowboys could always just move on from Elliott and either draft a young running back — such as the University of Texas’ Bijan Robinson — or sign a veteran replacement in free agency.

It remains to be seen what the Cowboys decide to do with Elliott, but one thing is for certain — his skills are diminishing and he may not have much of a market outside of Dallas.

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