The Philadelphia Eagles could stick it to a division rival by making a big signing.
As suggested by Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr, the Eagles should sign running back Ezekiel Elliott to prevent him from re-signing with the Dallas Cowboys. The two-time NFL rushing champion was released by Dallas in a salary cap move earlier in the offseason. Despite the release, Dallas has left open the idea of bringing back their former starting running back.
Orr argues that by signing Elliott — which could cost between $3-to-$6 million — it could be the difference between the bottom falling out in Dallas or not.
“If I were, say, the Giants or the Eagles, I would swallow the $3 million to $6 million or so it would take to get Elliott out of the hands of a rival, not because he’s that good, but because he could represent the difference between the bottom falling out in Dallas or not,” writes Orr.
Why the Cowboys Might Re-Sign Ezekiel Elliott
The Cowboys are in a sticky situation because they’re lacking proven and viable options beyond Tony Pollard at running back. While Pollard is coming off of his first Pro Bowl campaign last season, he’s never served as a full-time back. Despite turning in a 1,000-yard season last year, it was Elliott — not Pollard — who started at running back and led the Cowboys in total carries.
Furthermore, Pollard is coming off of a broken fibula injury. While he’s expected back by training camp, there is no certainty that he’ll regain the form that he displayed last year. The options beyond Pollard are veteran back Ronald Jones — a former starting running back who played just six games last year — the second-year Malik Davis and sixth-round rookie draft pick Deuce Vaughn, who stands at just 5-foot-5 and 179 pounds.
“There are seemingly not a great deal of other options for Dallas at this point, when you really look at it,” writes Orr. “Behind Tony Pollard are a slew of unproven commodities. Pollard is coming off a serious injury. The run game is going to be instrumental to Dallas’s success.”
Why The Eagles Aren’t Likely to Sign Ezekiel Elliott
While the idea from a purely strategic standpoint sounds good, the issue is, the Eagles have a bloated depth at running back without Elliott in the fold. Philadelphia pulled off a huge draft-day trade for former Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift and signed former Seattle Seahawks starting running back Rashaad Penny. That’s not even mentioning that Philadelphia brings back key reserves in Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell.
While the Eagles could theoretically move on from Penny, Scott or Gainwell to make room for Elliott, it’s hard to envision Philadelphia cutting a key running back familiar with the system all because they’re afraid of Elliott re-signing with the Cowboys.
Remember this key fact — Elliott previously listed the Eagles as one of three potential teams he was interested in playing for following his release with the Cowboys. Head coach Nick Sirianni essentially shut the idea down, saying Philadelphia was happy with their current running back group.
“We feel really good about the room as it is right now,” Sirianni said back in March when asked about Elliott. “I’m really excited about that room. Obviously really excited about the guys we have in that room.”
Barring an injury to one of their running backs, it’s hard to envision the Eagles making a move for the former Cowboys running back.