Ezekiel Elliott era has ended in Dallas.
According to NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the Cowboys have told the veteran running back that he will be labeled as a post-June 1 release in order to clear contract space.
Elliott’s future with the Cowboys was in doubt for the previous year, despite the Cowboys openly stating that they intended to find a way to bring him back in 2023.
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Elliott, 27, is coming off career lows in rush attempts (231), rush yards (876), and rushing average (3.8), while totaling 12 touchdowns and scoring in nine consecutive games last season. By midseason, Tony Pollard had clearly supplanted Elliott as the primary RB option.
Elliott has been steadily declining after signing a six-year, $90 million agreement in 2019. He played through a knee injury last season, missing two games, and then wore a brace.
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According to Over the Cap, releasing Elliott as a post-June 1 cut will save the Cowboys more than $10 million. Pollard was given the franchise tag by the Cowboys, ensuring him a one-year contract for $10.1 million despite returning from a season-ending leg injury.
The NFL’s second-leading active rusher, trailing Derrick Henry by 73 yards, will now enter free agency for the first time in his career. Elliott’s final play as a Cowboy was an odd one: he snapped the ball to Dak Prescott (and was trucked) on a last-second trick play that backfired horribly in the 49ers’ Divisional Round playoff loss.