The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly preparing to release Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott as the new NFL league year is set to open at 4:00 PM EDT on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
The Cowboys are prepared to release RB Ezekiel Elliott, per @clarencehilljr. pic.twitter.com/ZtrBlXFy0g
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) March 15, 2023
Elliott is in the midst of a 6-year $90 million blockbuster contract; however, the potential out was in 2023 capping it at a 4-year $50.1 million deal.
He is 27 years old, and this massive contract has always been a subject of scrutiny around the NFL.
The Cowboys recently franchise-tagged running back Tony Pollard for the 2023 season.
Pollard has been the more explosive runner of the two in the past couple of seasons; however, he did suffer an injury in the NFC divisional round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Zeke’s Best Season Was His Rookie Year, 2016
Zeke is a very physical runner, and the reps took a toll on his body.
Dallas drafted Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and he went to work immediately elevating their rushing attack.
His best season statistically was his rookie year, 2016.
He rushed for over 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.
Zeke won the rushing yards title in 2016 and in 2018.
Ezekiel Elliott's rushing yards per game in career
2022 58.4 pic.twitter.com/U9GvwxErzN
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) March 15, 2023
What’s Next For Elliott?
Running backs have shorter careers in the NFL because of the beating they take at the position.
There are also plenty of running back prospects entering the NFL each season through the draft.
The marketability of a veteran running back has diminished evidenced by the fact that the Tennessee Titans were shopping former two-time rushing leader Derrick Henry and the Vikings were doing the same with Dalvin Cooks.
He could be back with Dallas with a different and less lucrative contract.
Free agency grows more unpredictable with each passing season so it is really hard to predict where Elliott lands; however, it is premature to assume that even if he leaves Dallas permanently that his NFL career is over.
His best productivity at this stage in his career is as part of a running back duo where he can take fewer reps but continue to grind out yards.
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