Stephen Jones denounces any idea that Ezekiel Elliott could leave Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott had a pretty brutal 2021 season. The RB1 was dealing with a lingering knee injury. The running game struggled as a whole. There were many times in which his counterpart, Tony Pollard, outshined him. With several players headed to free agency and very little money to spend, the front office will have to make difficult decisions about the current roster.
Expensive players like Elliott, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Amari Cooper have all been rumored as potential cuts. However, when reporters got an opportunity to ask Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones about Elliott at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Jones immediately put any speculation to rest. In fact, he gave the running back a very strong endorsement and made it clear that Elliott isn’t going anywhere.
“Obviously, his money is guaranteed. He’s going to be here. There’s no question. We are fortunate to have him,” Jones told the press.
Instead of touching on the frustration of Elliott’s output, the EVP said that RB1 is a “competitor” and “damn good running back” for playing through several injuries. Based on his conversation with the press, there is no doubt that Jones wants Elliott on his team and that the running back’s roster spot is 100% secured going into 2022.
Despite not having an excellent season, Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones guarantees Ezekiel Elliott will be back with a glowing endorsement. Endorsement aside, Elliott’s contract makes cutting him all-but-impossible this offseason
The Ohio State product is set to earn a fully guaranteed $12.4 million in 2022, which is part of the six-year, $90 million contract he signed ahead of the 2019 season. His lofty $18.2 salary cap hit is the highest among all running backs in the league. Elliott is under contract through 2026 with a potential out available in 2023. Dallas already restructured Elliott’s deal last year to create cap space.
Cynthia Frelund from NFL Network did a deep dive on why cutting Elliott is basically “inconceivable.” In a year where Dallas is already struggling with cap space, Elliott’s dead cap number (if they were to cut him outright) of over $30 million makes his Dallas exit essentially a non-option.
Despite injuries, Elliott just barely managed to get himself a 1,000-yard season. The Cowboys running back is still young at just 26 years old. At that age, many players have their best years ahead of them. But given Elliott’s apparent wear and tear from his high snap count, will he be able to get back to the star he was in his first couple of seasons in the NFL? It seems like Jones certainly thinks so.