2. Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t have “it” anymore
It was going to happen at some point. Some speculated 2024 would mark the beginning of Elliott’s downfall. Instead, it happened two years ahead of time, which really isn’t all that surprising given the workload he was given early in his career.
Elliott led the NFL in carries twice in his first three years, and likely would’ve pulled off a three-peat if he didn’t miss six games in 2017 via suspension. Even that year he totaled 242 carries, averaging out to 24.2 per game.
Since 2016, Zeke has the most carries in the league at 1,881. Derrick Henry is second at 1,750, though he didn’t crack 300 carries in a season until his fourth year. Even still, the Titans are reportedly shopping him in trade talks given he still can be a premium-level runner in the right offense.
Elliott just isn’t that guy anymore. He’s still a menace near the goal-line, but you can pay players the league minimum to play that role.
Tony Pollard is very clearly the more explosive back, and lapped his running mate in every major statistical category, including yards per attempt, explosive runs, yards after contact, and forced missed tackles.
Elliott gave everything (and then some) for the Cowboys. Between playing through injuries, and playing the role of a workhorse running back, it’s sadly no surprise his athleticism is fading and was viewed as expendable.