Dallas Cowboys release RB Ezekiel Elliott after 7 seasons
The Dallas Cowboys released running back Ezekiel Elliott, the team announced Wednesday.
Elliott’s contract would’ve counted $16.7 million against the team’s salary cap with a $10.9 million non-guaranteed base salary. The 27-year-old will be designated a post-June 1 cut, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which means the team will save nearly $11 million against the 2023 cap but he will count a little more than $6 million against the 2024 cap.
The move comes weeks after owner Jerry Jones said he would be open to keeping Elliott and running back Tony Pollard. The tandem seemed unlikely with the Cowboys recently placing the franchise tag on Pollard and the team featuring him as the lead running back last season.
“Zeke’s impact and influence is seared into the Cowboys franchise in a very special and indelible way,” Jones said in a statement. “He has been a consummate professional and leader that set a tone in our locker room, on the practice field and in the huddle. Zeke defined what a great teammate should be, and anyone that has ever played a team sport would be lucky to have a teammate like Zeke and be much better for it.
“He wore the Cowboys Star with pride and purpose every single time he put it on, and we’re a better franchise because of the example he set for veterans and rookies alike.”
The Cowboys drafted Elliott with the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent seven seasons with the team, playing in six postseason games. In the 2019 offseason, the former Ohio State star signed a six-year extension worth $90 million after rushing for a league-most 1434 yards in 2018. That year, he averaged 95.6 rushing yards per game and also caught 77 passes for 567 receiving yards.
Injuries hampered Elliott as of late, as he played through a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in 2021 and missed two games in 2022 with hyperextended right knee. Elliott’s injuries made way for Pollard, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl after rushing for 1007 yards and scoring 12 total touchdowns.
Elliot recorded a career-low in rushing and receiving yards last season, totaling 876 and 92 respectively. However, he still scored 12 touchdowns and was used in short-yardage situations. Elliott reached 10,000 all-purpose yards last season, joining Hall-of-Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett as the only running backs to do so in Cowboys history.
Prescott and Elliott both emerged in Dallas as rookies in 2016. Prescott replaced Tony Romo, who suffered a back injury in the preseason and lost the starting job, after being selected in the fourth round (135th pick) and went on to win the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Elliott finished in second.
Elliott ends his Cowboys career with 8,262 yards on 1,881 carries and 68 rushing touchdowns. He made 305 receptions for 2,336 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 80 career touchdowns is the third most in team history behind Smith (164) and Dorsett (86).