Cowboys Urged to Ditch 2 Offensive Stars in 2023 Offseason: ‘Needs to Go’

Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Dallas Cowboys running backs Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott embrace quarterback Dak Prescott after a play.

The Dallas Cowboys have many directions they can take the roster, including a sweeping overhaul of the team’s rushing attack.

Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott led the Cowboys running backs in 2022, with the duo amassing 1883 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns between them according to PFR. However, one analyst believes Dallas should move on.

Blogging the Boys’ Dan Rogers penned a comprehensive breakdown of the current state of running backs in the NFL, and his conclusion is apparent: the Cowboys are wasting resources if they commit to Pollard and/or Elliott for the future.

“For the Cowboys, this running game identity needs to go…” Rogers writes. “Would it be nice to have Elliott and Pollard on this team? Sure. But is it necessary? No, it’s not. The team would be better served to find a low-cost proven veteran in free agency and throw a dart at a rookie in the draft. That way, they can use their cap space and premium draft capital on more influencing pieces to the puzzle.”

A key part of the argument is how the AFC Championship-winning Kansas City Chiefs have rotated running backs constantly over their years of recent success, and Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy’s previous run with the Green Bay Packers, in which the head coach had eight different rushing leaders over 10 seasons.

Pass-Focused RBs in Free Agency

Rogers throws out a few potential options that would better fit a transition away from the current approach: Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon and Philadelphia Eagles running backs Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell.

Gainwell still has another year on his current deal with the Eagles, but McKinnon and Scott will both be free agents in 2023. And between those two, Scott’s production as a receiving back has dropped in a major way over the past two seasons, while McKinnon is having one of the best years of his career.

In his second season with the Chiefs, McKinnon has set career marks for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns: 53 catches, 512 receiving yards and nine TDs.

McKinnon will be 31 in May, but that’s way less of a factor if the Cowboys committed to cheap, pass-focused backs. Instead, his experience is an added benefit rather than a worry.

Cowboys Back Elliott Ahead of 2023 Offseason

While the Cowboys do have the option of moving on from Elliott and Pollard, Dallas isn’t currently showing any sign of parting ways with Zeke.

During a media session with reporters at the Senior Bowl on February 1, Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones expressed his desire to keep Elliott around and stressed his importance to the team.

“You always want Zeke,” Jones said. “But do the numbers work? You can’t define what Zeke does for our football team.”

As Heavy’s J.R. DeGroote covered, team owner Jerry Jones also defended Elliott recently, stating that his 2022 statistics don’t tell the full story and that further analysis will make his season “look better.”

For context, Elliott averaged 3.8 yards per rush and totaled 876 rushing yards, the lo. The 27-year-old did miss two regular season games, but the average still indicates a drop in effectiveness.

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