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Why the Dallas Cowboys should not consider bringing back running back Ezekiel Elliott

With members of the Dallas Cowboys organization leaving the door open to possibly bring back RB Ezekiel Elliott, the team should officially close it.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys made the difficult decision of releasing veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott from the team on March 15. While it made sense financially, it was a move that still stung many Cowboys fans, as Elliott has been a fan-favorite and was the cornerstone of the Dallas offense for several years. The move came after the team chose to assign their franchise tag to Tony Pollard. If an agreement on a contract extension is not reached before July 15, Pollard will account for $10.9 million against the cap for the 2023 season.

The decision to release Elliott confirmed many things that fans had speculated about the organization. It confirmed that the team wanted to head forward with Pollard being the feature back. This is truly the right decision, as Pollard has proven he is the more explosive runner at this point in their careers. It confirmed that the Cowboys are willing to put emotional feelings and relationships aside to do what is best for the team to win right now. This was shown when they decided to move on from former coordinator Kellen Moore earlier in the offseason. It also showed, despite what the front office said throughout the 2022 season, they clearly felt that Elliott was not contributing to the value of his contract with the team. Elliott accounted for $18.2 million against the cap for the team in the 2022 season, despite only averaging a mere 3.8 yards per carry.

Despite the release, several key members of the organization have openly said they are keeping the door open for a potential reunion if Elliott cannot find a market somewhere else.

This is what team owner Jerry Jones said regarding a potential reunion with the running back,

“I don’t want to ever and I don’t want to leave him hanging or fans hanging or anybody,” Jones said. “But I wouldn’t take any possibility off the table.”

Head coach Mike McCarthy also vocally expressed his thoughts on a potential reunion as well,

“Yeah, definitely,” McCarthy said Monday when asked if re-signing Elliott is a possibility, via NFL Media. “I think you always keep the door open. Absolutely.”

With all that being said, it is truly in the best interest of the Cowboys to officially move on from Ezekiel Elliott. Anyone who watched the team last season could see that any time Elliott was getting a carry instead of Pollard, it limited the potential of that play. Elliott does not have the burst he once did, he does not have the durability he once had, and he is not efficient as a pass catcher either. The one thing that Elliott can provide is pass protection which is a skill that can be found in other backs around the league or in the draft.

Elliott had an incredible career in Dallas. It is fair to call him a Dallas Cowboys legend and is a player who enters the conversation of deserving a place in the team’s Ring of Honor when his career is finished.

In his seven-year career with the Cowboys, Elliott had:

  • 10,598 total yards
  • 72 total touchdowns
  • 80.2 yards per game
  • 2x Rushing Title winner
  • 3x Pro Bowl appearances
  • One All-Pro appearance

It would be best for the organization to officially close the chapter of the Ezekiel Elliott era and enjoy it for what it was. Move on from Elliott and truly allow Pollard to have the bulk of the touches every game of the season. Continuing to publicly tease a potential reunion is not a good look for the organization, and they should be content with their decision and stick with it.

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