The Dallas Cowboys reached a crossroads this offseason with Ezekiel Elliott’s future. Some fans speculated the front office, specifically owner Jerry Jones, didn’t have what it takes (the ruthlessness, if you will) to cut Elliott considering their friendship and everything the player has given to the team.
When push came to shove, though, Jones proved all of us wrong.
The Cowboys officially released Elliott on Wednesday with a post-June 1 designation, thereby entrusting Tony Pollard as the lead back, and parting ways with one of the team’s best players of the last decade on either side of the ball. The move will save Dallas $10.9 million against the cap once it becomes official in June.
This is an emotional time for Cowboys fans for obvious reasons, but it doesn’t take a football savant to realize this was the right call.
3 reasons Cowboys were right to release Ezekiel Elliott
3. 2023 RB class is loaded
Bijan Robinson has been the running back most prominently linked with the Cowboys. Following the Combine, it seems increasingly unlikely Robinson falls that far, as ESPN Todd McShay’s new mock has the Texas star going No. 10 overall to the Eagles, while The Athletic has him going No. 14 overall to the Eagles.
Regardless, the running back class goes much deeper than Robinson.
Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs is a potential second-round target — some analysts would argue he’s first-round material — while UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet, Tulane’s Tyjae Spears, Ole Miss’ Zach Evans, TCU’s Kendre Miller, and Texas A&M’s Devon Achane offer high upside in the middle rounds depending how the board unfolds.
Whomever your flavor of the week is, it’s beyond time for the Cowboys to reset the money at the position. What better time than drafting a prospect in one of the strongest running back classes to enter the league in several years?
Not only would drafting a RB reset the money after Tony Pollard’s franchise tag expires at season’s end, but any of the aforementioned players could step in as rookies and have a similar impact, if not greater impact, than Zeke had in 2022.