Ezekiel Elliott’s days as a member of the Dallas Cowboys could be numbered if he doesn’t return to form during the upcoming season. Even then, his fate may already be set in stone.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio predicts the Cowboys will move on from Elliott after this season.
“I think he’s out,” Florio detailed on a June 17, 2022, episode of “Pro Football Talk.” “I think he’s out after this year. I think he’s out after this year, and the money that they would give to him is going to Tony Pollard and then they’ll draft somebody.
“They had no qualms about saying goodbye to DeMarco Murray. His reward for setting the franchise single-season rushing record was, ‘See you later. We’re not interested.’ And they would have already said that to Ezekiel Elliott if they didn’t have a contract structure that forced them to keep him around. And it’s amazing for a team that prides itself on being very shrewd, very shrewd when it comes to contract negotiations, they got the short end of it with Ezekiel Elliott and with Dak Prescott by delaying and assuming that they could just throw an arm around the guy and talk him into doing a hometown discount.”
Elliott has not been the same running back since signing his massive $90 million contract that he held out for. Paying $15 million annually for a running back has never worked out and is not the recipe to create a contending team.
Elliott’s contract runs through the 2026 season, but the Cowboys have an out in the star’s deal next offseason. According to Spotrac, the Cowboys can release Elliott in 2023 but would take an $11.8 million dead cap hit. The team could look to trade him, but nobody is taking on that contract for a declining RB.
Not to mention, the team may be ready to hand over the RB duties to Tony Pollard, who is due for a raise. Pollard is heading into the final season of his four-year, $3.1 million rookie contract.
Pollard was arguably the more productive back last season as he had 130 carries for 719 yards and two touchdowns averaging 5.5 yards per rush. He also showed his dual-threat abilities by catching 39 balls for 337 receiving yards.