Fans of the Dallas Cowboys are waiting with great anticipation for the notification that informs them of Ezekiel Elliott’s new home.
The Cowboys released Elliott with a post-June 1 designation on the first day of the new league year. The move will save $10.9 million against the cap once June rolls around, and Dallas ruled out a potential reunion this offseason when they signed McKinney North graduate Ronald Jones to a one-year deal.
A reunion was never likely after Elliott was released, but there were rumblings he could return for one year on a renegotiated contract.
With Tony Pollard, Ronald Jones, Rico Dowdle, and Malik Davis under contract for next campaign, Elliott will take his talents elsewhere
The Bills have long needed a bruising back to take the pressure off Josh Allen, so myriad analysts pegged Buffalo as an ideal destination for Zeke. Furthermore, Devin Singletary was a free agent so it seemed like a great fit, and he has since joined Dalton Schultz and Noah Brown in Houston.
Well, it’s a great fit no more, as the Bills signed Damien Harris to be their new between-the-tackles workhorse.
Former Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott joining the Bills no longer possible after Damien Harris signing.
Elliott serving as the thunder to James Cook’s lightning seemed like a great fit on paper, but Buffalo opted for the younger back in Harris, a player we dubbed as a potential Elliott replacement for the Cowboys. The Bills are getting an underrated back in Harris, who could prove to be one of the signings of free agency if he’s able to stay on the field and bring balance to Buffalo’s one-dimensional offense.
For Elliott, though, his list of potential homes shortens.
There’s still some running back-needy teams out there, however, including the Buccaneers, Bengals, Chargers, Broncos, and Colts.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell thinks Tampa Bay is still the best fit for Elliott even though they just signed Chase Edmonds to pair with Rachaad White.
"“Possible deal: One year, $4 million with the Buccaneers. Here, he [Elliott] would be part of a split backfield alongside Rachaad White, who would serve as the team’s primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. Elliott would be an early-down runner and much-needed pass protection specialist for an offense currently expected to start Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask at quarterback.Tampa will likely move toward a more run-heavy approach after Tom Brady’s retirement, so it is going to need someone to rotate with White.”"
Barnwell doesn’t mention Edmonds, but he profiles similarly to White as a player who’s most effective in space.
The Buccaneers are still missing a mauler, and Elliott produced 26 yards over expectation on 117 carries between the tackles last season. As Barnwell notes, Elliott’s 114 carries outside the tackles tallied minus-85 rushing yards over expectation, but that’s why Tampa has White and Edmonds, right?
We’ll be monitoring Elliott’s free agency closely.
The Bills no longer being part of the equation stinks in that Zeke would’ve joined a legit contender, but there’s plenty of time for the former All-Pro to find a new team; hopefully one that has a chance to play deep into January.