4 RBs Cowboys can trade for to complete backfield after Ezekiel Elliott signing

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The Dallas Cowboys confirmed the inevitable on Monday when they signed former two-time rushing champ Ezekiel Elliott. The third-leading rusher in Cowboys history, Elliott returns to Dallas after he was released last offseason. He spent the 2023 season with the Patriots, whom he led in rushing.

Overall, there isn't an obvious downside to signing Elliott. It's fantastic for the locker room and will hopefully pay dividends in short-yardage situations. It just stings that the Cowboys didn't find a way to draft a running back or sign one with fresher legs during the free agent frenzy.

The front office has hinted they aren't done adding to the running back room. Given what the free-agent market looks like, it would behoove Dallas to poke around the trade market and see what's out there. Who knows? They might stumble upon a hidden gem.

4. Miles Sanders, Panthers

This could turn into a full-circle moment for the Cowboys, who were widely linked with Texas running back Jonathon Brooks before and during the NFL Draft. After Jerry Jones showered Brooks with praise, essentially confirming Dallas' interest, the Panthers traded up in round two to take Brooks.

Coming off a torn ACL, Brooks is still expected to make an impact in year one. The fact Carolina traded a 2025 day two pick for the former Longhorn tells us they view him as their long-term running back with the potential to grab hold of the starting gig as soon as next season.

Either way, the Brooks pick is bad news for Sanders, who signed a four-year, $25.4 million contract with the Panthers last offseason. Carolina's offense was a brutal watch, but Sanders underperformed relative to expectations.

He averaged 3.3 yards per carry and lost the starting gig mid-season to Chuba Hubbard, who produced 109 more carries and more than double the yards. A fourth-round pick in 2021, Hubbard is still under contract. Brooks entering the fold only further muddies the water for Sanders.

There's a buy-low opportunity here for Dallas so long as the Panthers agree to swallow some of Sanders' remaining contract.