1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Throughout his tenure with the Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott has been a hot topic. Early on in his career, he was a dominant running back but found himself suspended for six games due to domestic violence accusations. He’s been able to stay on the right path since then and did enough to earn a massive extension ahead of the 2019 season.
The problem is, Dallas completely overpaid him. While other teams have been giving running backs three-year deals that have a way out after two seasons, the Jones family elected to give Elliott a six-year extension when he still had two years remaining on his rookie deal. So while most franchises find a way outa after just two years, Dallas didn’t even start digging their hole until after that same time span.
It was a comical contract that still looks awful heading into the 2023 offseason. The only positive is that they actually have a way out now. The Cowboys can decide to part ways with Zeke and designate him a post-June 1 cut. Doing so would save them roughly $11 million — but would eat up $5.8 million in dead space.
Some would say Elliott should stay since he had 12 touchdowns in 2022 but the fact is, he’s lost more than a step at this point. That was evident by his career-low numbers in both yardage (876) and yards per attempt (3.8).
Throw in the fact that they need to try and re-sign Tony Pollard, who is still an ascending player, and the odds to be in Big D in 2023 are not in Elliott’s favor — unless he wants to take a massive pay cut.