Free Agency

Cowboys Release Running Back Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys informed running back Ezekiel Elliott he will be released after seven seasons with the team, NFL Media reported on Wednesday.

Elliott will be designated as a post-June 1 cut, saving the Cowboys $10.9 million against the cap. His cap number for 2023 under his current contract is $16.4 million. Dallas has slightly more than $4 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

Former Vikings and Dolphins GM Rick Spielman says it will be difficult for Elliott to receive the type of money he was making in Dallas on the free agent market.

“I think he’ll have a market, I just don’t think it will be what he’s expecting,” said Spielman, an analyst for The 33rd Team. “If he’s expecting to get a Dallas Cowboys-type contract that he had, I would highly doubt he would get that on the open market.”

Spielman believes, absent hard feelings getting in the way, we could see a reunion for Elliott back in Dallas in 2023. It starts with an honest conversation with the player.

“It’s a business decision, and we can’t afford the contract that you have,” Spielman said, recalling many conversations he’s had with players. “It has nothing to do with anything else; this is a business move that we have to do. We would love to have you back. We’ll release you, let you go out and see what the market is. Please keep us in the loop.”

Elliott’s release was expected after he finished 2022 with 876 yards rushing, the lowest total of his career. With Elliott struggling to recapture his old form, the Cowboys turned to Tony Pollard, who quickly asserted himself as the team’s most explosive running back, rushing for a career-best 1,007 yards while adding nine touchdowns.

Although Pollard suffered a broken leg in this year’s divisional round against the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys used the franchise tag on him. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement by July 15, Pollard will earn $10.1 million on the tag.

The Cowboys selected Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He won two NFL rushing titles in his first four seasons, causing the Cowboys to give him a six-year, $90 million extension in 2019.

After Elliott received his big extension, his play took a downward turn. He would only eclipse the 1,000-yard mark once during his last three seasons with the Cowboys after eclipsing it in three of his first four seasons.

Elliott’s 8,262 yards rushing and 68 touchdowns rank third in Cowboys history behind Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.

Elliott will join a free-agent running back market, including Miles Sanders and Jamaal Williams.

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