Free Agency

Ezekiel Elliott Could Make New York Jets a Super Bowl Contender

Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for more than 8,000 yards and nearly 70 touchdowns in his first seven seasons, and after seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys is now a free agent. Another member of the NFL running back fraternity, Chris Johnson, believes Elliott has plenty left in the tank. In fact, if Elliott were to go to a team such as the New York Jets, he could be a piece that puts them over the top for Super Bowl contention.

Free Agency

Report: Ezekiel Elliott Narrows Free-Agent List to Eagles, Jets, Bengals

Released last week after seven productive seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, running back Ezekiel Elliott has narrowed his choices for his next team to the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN reported on Thursday. He is expected to make a decision by the end of next week.

Elliott was set to count $16.7 million against the Cowboys’ salary cap in 2023, but the team chose to cut him and apply the franchise tag to Tony Pollard, who signed it on Thursday. Pollard will make $10.091 million on the tag in 2023 unless a new contract can be worked out between the two sides.

In 2019, Elliott signed a six-year extension worth $90 million that included $50 million in guaranteed money. But he has topped 1,000 yards only once in the past three seasons (1,002 in 2021).

In 2022, he carried 231 times for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns. It quickly became clear that Pollard (193 carries, 1,007 yards, 9 TDs) was the more effective runner and one with the brighter future in Dallas. Still, Elliott can add plenty of value to a running back-needy team, said Chris Johnson, a former NFL running back and analyst for The 33rd Team.

“I think he’s going to be one of those guys, and I think teams around the league are looking for a guy like him, who can pound the ball,” Johnson said.

With Joe Mixon‘s future in Cincinnati still very much up in the air, and Samaje Perine gone to Denver as a free agent, the Bengals are thin at running back. With a $12.7 million cap figure, Mixon likely will have to take a pay cut to return or become a June 1 release. Cincinnati also has Chris Evans and Trayveon Williams on the roster.

Meanwhile, the Jets may have a temporary need for a top runner. Breece Hall, who suffered a torn ACL as a rookie last season, is expected back but may not be able to handle a full workload for at least the start of the season. The team re-signed Ty Johnson to a one-year contract on Thursday, ESPN reported.

If Elliott chooses the Eagles, he would join a backfield led by newly signed Rashaad Penny, in addition to Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell and Trey Sermon. Philadelphia lost Miles Sanders, who signed a free-agent deal with the Carolina Panthers last week. However, NBC Sports reported Thursday evening that the Eagles have not spoken with Elliott, and are content with their current backfield.

“He can be a nice role player for a team that has the potential to make a deep run to the Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “He’s got a chance to pick a real contender.

“I would say go to a team like the Jets. If (Aaron Rodgers) goes over there, with all the playmakers they have, Zeke could be a nice role player for them. He would automatically make the Jets a Super Bowl contender.”

Over his career, Elliott has 8,262 yards rushing and 68 touchdowns. His 1,881 carries are the most in the NFL by over 100 since he entered the league as the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and he trails only Derrick Henry in yards and touchdowns during that span.

Free Agency

Report: Jets’ Interest in Odell Beckham Jr. ‘Very Real’

The New York Jets have made multiple moves to rework their wide receiver room in anticipation of trading for Aaron Rodgers, and one more move could come soon. The Jets’ interest in free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is “very real,” SNY reported on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Beckham Jr. added to the speculation by following new Jets receiver Allen Lazard on Instagram. Beckham Jr. and Lazard have a strong relationship with Rodgers and were reportedly included on a list of players Rodgers wanted the Jets to sign.

During his March 15 appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers denied the report calling it “stupid.” Rodgers has spoken glowingly of Beckham Jr. in the past. In a 2021 appearance on McAfee’s show, Rodgers described his relationship with Beckham Jr. as more than just acquaintances.

“We’ve been friends for a long time, kept in touch and met at some events and just, you know, sent encouraging messages,” Rodgers said. “During the seasons, over the years.”

Although Rodgers intends to play for the Jets in 2023 and has a strong relationship with Beckham Jr., the quarterback is still on the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are asking for at least a first-round pick in exchange for Rodgers.

>> DEBATE: Who Has Leverage in Rodgers Trade? 

Beckham Jr. didn’t play last season due to the torn ACL he suffered in the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The free-agent receiver worked out in front of NFL decision-makers on March 10 and looked healthy enough to draw interest from multiple teams.

Reports then surfaced that Beckham Jr. wanted a contract that would pay him roughly $20 million per year, a tough sell for a player who missed an entire season. However, he took to Twitter to refute those claims, saying he wanted more than $4 million.

If Beckham Jr. signs with the Jets, he’ll join Lazard, reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and Mecole Hardman, who the Jets signed on Wednesday, in New York’s receiver room. The Jets also traded Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, perhaps to open a spot for Beckham Jr.


Fantasy Football Reaction: Browns Trade for Elijah Moore

With multiple additions at the wide receiver position in free agency, somebody had to go for the New York Jets. That happened on Wednesday when Elijah Moore was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a second-round draft pick. Moore immediately jumps into a top-three role for the Browns and has the upside to become the team’s No. 1 receiver down the line.

Fantasy Football NFL Free Agency Impact: Wide Receivers

Fantasy Football NFL Free Agency Impact: Wide Receivers
Free agent signings and a few high-impact trades have changed the landscape for several NFL teams. What kind of impact will those moves have in fantasy football? Josh Larky and Ryan Reynolds, with insights from Jordan Vanek, continue their free-agent series by exploring fantasy-relevant wide receivers. All contract figures are from Ari Meirov’s Free Agent Tracker, […]

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New York Jets Trade WR Elijah Moore After Signing Mecole Hardman

After requesting a trade in the middle of the 2022 season, Elijah Moore is finally on his way out of the Big Apple. The New York Jets traded the disgruntled wide receiver to the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, ESPN reported.

The Jets are sending Moore and pick No. 74 (third round) in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Browns in exchange for pick No. 42 (second round).

The trade comes on the same day the Jets agreed to terms with free-agent wide receiver Mecole Hardman. According to NFL Media, Hardman’s one-year deal could be worth as much as $6.5 million.

Moore’s trade request came because of a lack of targets from quarterback Zach Wilson. Despite playing in five more games in 2022 than in 2021, Moore finished last season with fewer yards, targets, touchdowns and receptions. He caught 37 passes for 450 yards and a touchdown in 2022.

The Browns, meanwhile, hope he will provide them with something closer to his rookie season output, which saw him rack up 538 yards and five touchdowns in just 11 games.

The 2021 second-round pick will join forces with Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku as the Browns’ top targets for quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns and Watson are coming off a disappointing season that saw them finish last in the AFC North.

As for the Jets, they now have back-to-back picks in the second round of this year’s draft with pick Nos. 42 and 43. They’ve also made several acquisitions at wide receiver to offset Moore’s loss, including the signings of Allen Lazard last week and Hardman on Wednesday. The team already has reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson in the building.

The Jets’ wide receiver room is beginning to take shape as they continue to negotiate with the Green Bay Packers about a trade for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

WATCH: Why Jets Have Leverage in Rodgers Trade

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