Ezekiel Elliott’s next team could very well be the one where he spent the first seven years of his NFL career. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is not ruling out the possibility of re-signing Elliott after the team released him earlier this month.
The two-time NFL rushing champion remains unsigned two weeks after being released by the Cowboys. He has reportedly narrowed his list of desired teams down to the Jets, Bengals and Eagles. Bengals coach Zac Taylor and Jets coach Robert Saleh do not appear to be too interested in signing Elliott, however.
Elliott’s continued availability could ultimately lead to a return to Dallas, a possibility McCarthy is definitely open to.
“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.”
McCarthy said that the decision to part ways with Elliott wasn’t easy. An immensely popular player within the Cowboys’ locker room, Elliott also continued to find ways to contribute to the Cowboys’ offense in 2022. While his yards-per-carry average dipped, Elliott still scored 12 touchdowns on the ground while continuing to be one the NFL’s best blocking backs in pass coverage.
“You know, no one felt good about that,” McCarthy said. “I mean, Zeke has such a bright light to him too. He’s a great teammate. There’s so much love for him in the building, but you get to these spots, you know, the longer you’re in this league, these are tough decisions. Very difficult decisions. Very difficult for Dak (Prescott). You know, I’ve had a number of conversations with Dak, but it’s not easy.”
Money was the primary reason why the Cowboys released Elliott. The Cowboys saved nearly $11 million in cap space by releasing Elliott, who was slated to be a $16.7 million cap hit for the 2023 season. But given his ongoing availability on the open market, it’s possible that the Cowboys could re-sign Elliott at a cheaper rate while pairing him once again with Tony Pollard, who signed his franchise tag shortly after the Cowboys tagged him.
If he returns to Dallas, Elliott will likely be wearing the No. 15, the number he wore when he led Ohio State to a national championship in 2014. The Cowboys recently gave his No. 21 away to Stephon Gilmore, the former Defensive Player of the Year who was acquired by Dallas earlier this offseason.