While the Dallas Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott on Wednesday, there’s a slim chance he could return to the team on a restructured contract.
Elliott’s cap hit was scheduled to be upwards of $16 million. After Dallas decided to place the franchise tag on Tony Pollard — worth over $10 million — it became fairly obvious that Elliott would be the victim of a cap crunch.
Winning is evidently Elliott’s top priority at this point in his career, per Pro Football Talk. So far, the only known interested party is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is a pretty terrible fit given their poor offensive line play. Also, Tom Brady is gone, meaning the Bucs shouldn’t expect to win many games next season.
FanSided’s Kristen Wong explained the issue with a Bucs-Elliott marriage on Wednesday:
“The Bucs ran their offense into the ground last season ranking last in the league in run-blocking and last in rushing yards per game (75.6).
With Elliott’s efficiency already waning, he would thrive best on a team with an already potent rushing attack, not to mention he likely doesn’t want to be fed balls from newly signed Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield.”
Cowboys rumors: Where will Ezekiel Elliott sign?
Elliott did well with his contract — he made $70 million as a running back, and held out for a contract extension after the 2019 season. At the time, Elliott was criticized for missing training camp, and not being with the team during a critical transition. It’s another reminder that players should earn their value, whatever the cost.
Zeke’s Dallas career isn’t necessarily over, should he struggle to find a team in free agency. A return on a short-term deal, either now or after a brief stint elsewhere, could be in the cards. Elliott left on good terms with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys front office for a reason.
No bridges were burnt, meaning you can’t count out a reunion in Dallas.