The Ezekiel Elliott era appears over in Dallas.
The Cowboys will likely release the franchise’s third-leading rusher, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday ahead of the new league year. If and when Elliott is cut, he will be designated as a post-June 1 release.
It is a move long anticipated, as Elliott’s place with the team had come into doubt over the past year, even with the Cowboys saying publicly that they wanted 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), although he did total 12 touchdowns and score in nine straight games last season. By midseason, it was clear Tony Pollard had surpassed Elliott as the lead RB option.
Ever since Elliott signed a six-year, $90 million extension in 2019, he has been in a steady decline. He played through a knee injury, missing two games last season, and wore a brace thereafter.
Releasing Elliott as a post-June 1 cut will save the Cowboys more than $10 million, per Over the Cap. The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Pollard, guaranteeing him a one-year tender at $10.1 million, even though he’s coming off a season-ending leg injury.
The NFL’s second-leading active rusher — 73 yards behind Derrick Henry — now will hit the market for the first time in his career. Elliott’s final play as a Cowboy was a bizarre one: snapping to the ball to Dak Prescott (and getting trucked) on a last-snap trick play that flopped badly in the Divisional Round playoff loss to the 49ers.
Elliott will finish his Cowboys career as Dallas’ third-leading rusher all time, behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.
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