The Ezekiel Elliott era in Dallas is coming to an end as the Dallas Cowboys release Elliott, who has four years left on a whopping six-year, $90 million extension he signed in 2019, according to NFL Media Reports.
Elliott was arguably the worst starting running back in the league last season, finishing last in the NFL in yards per rush (3.8), tackles avoided (32) and rush percentage for 10+ yards ( 7.4%). According to multiple reports, the move will be treated as a cut after June 1. The Cowboys will see $10.9 million in cap relief as a result and they will be left with $5.82 million in dead money on the cap this year. He owed $64.76 million for the remainder of his contract, but there was no guaranteed salary left on his contract.
Although Elliott’s end in Dallas wasn’t great, he was one of the best running backs in Cowboys history. Third on the all-time list for rushing yards for the Cowboys (8,262), Elliott rushed for 1,000 yards four times in seven seasons, while also hitting double digits in rushing touchdowns four times and making three appearances. at the Pro Bowl.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones released a statement after Elliott’s release:
“We mutually agreed with Zeke that the best decision for everyone is for them to experience free will, and we can also increase our flexibility and options. That’s one of the hardest parts. of managing a team,” Jones said. in the statement.
Elliot led the NFL in rushing yards per game three consecutive seasons (2016-18) and the league in rushing yards twice (2016, 2018). His rushing yards per game have declined each season due to the number of touches accumulated during his career, averaging 58.4 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry in 2022.
Elliott’s exit paves the way for Tony Pollard to become the star of Dallas. Pollard ranked first in the NFL in yards per touch (5.9) last season, as he rushed for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns.
Potential landing spots
Dallas Cowboys: Could the Cowboys actually bring Elliott back? They could in a restructured deal as a replacement for Pollard, using him primarily in the red zone. Elliott is much more valuable in Dallas with a cheaper contract that isn’t a meaningful cap.
Houston Texans: If Elliott still feels he can be a leader in the league, he wouldn’t have to travel far to seize this opportunity. Houston has Damion Pierce as a starter, but Elliott would have the opportunity to touch. The Texans were 31st in the league in rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns and yards per rush — so any player would be an upgrade for that offense. Elliott could definitely shop in Houston, paving the way for a young quarterback.
Cincinnati Bengals: Losing Samaje Perine with the power back in this offense was a blow for the Bengals. Elliott could fill that void as the power shifts to Joe Mixon, getting opportunities to rack up the tough yards on third-and-run situations and inside the 20. It wouldn’t cost Cincinnati much either.