The Dallas Cowboys have largely been a bystander amid the free agent frenzy, but they fulfilled their top priority by re-signing safety Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch, while also trading for cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Now, the attention shifts to Ezekiel Elliott, and potential external free agents Dallas gets through the door.
It’s pretty shocking the Cowboys haven’t addressed Elliott’s future yet. Either the franchise will retain him on a restructured deal or outright releases him, most likely with a post-June 1 designation to maximize cap savings.
Until there’s an answer, all fans can do is speculate, but Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported early Wednesday that the Cowboys are set to part ways with Elliott.
If Elliott, in fact, ends up on the chopping block, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new home. Though declining, there will be a reasonable market for a running back who’s still a handful to bring down in short-yardage spots.
One potential landing spot is the Chargers, who could be short at the position with Austin Ekeler seeking permission to request a trade.
Could Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott replace Austin Ekeler on the Chargers?
According to Adam Schefter, the Chargers granted Ekeler’s trade request after contract extension talks went awry. This all but confirms Ekeler will have a new team in 2023, which brings Elliott into focus as a potential replacement.
The Chargers would be insane to sign Elliott (if he’s even released) to replace Ekeler as their workhorse, but he’d be a serviceable No. 2 option.
There’s growing buzz Los Angeles could draft a running back in the first round come April if they plug other roster holes in free agency. A Bijan Robinson-Elliott pairing or Jahmyr Gibbs-Elliott marriage could do some damage in the AFC West, which isn’t exactly renowned for its ability to neutralize the run.
We’re just spit-balling here, but the Bolts are definitely a team to watch if the Cowboys pull the plug on Elliott in the coming days (or weeks). Not many teams are in need of running back help, and Zeke represents an affordable option for a Chargers team that clearly doesn’t want to meet Ekeler’s contract demands.
And of course, who could forget the Kellen Moore factor?
Though Moore just touched down on the west coast, odds are general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Brandon Staley will allow him some voice in personnel decisions. It’s the reason so many Cowboys talking heads are speculating about Dalton Schultz reuniting with Moore.
Very few players wouldn’t look good playing in the Chargers exquisite uniforms, but Elliott? Seems like a match made in heaven, don’t you think?