Cowboys fans' Stephon Gilmore dream is still alive after surprising plot twist

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Between the NFL Draft and the return of Ezekiel Elliott, it has been a hectic week for Dallas Cowboys fans. After hitting a home run in the draft, Cowboys fans are eager for the team to continue making upgrades.

Even though the Cowboys signed Elliott, there's a strong chance that their leading rusher next season isn't currently on the roster. It would behoove the front office to add a younger running back so Elliott isn't asked to do too much.

Elliott's return could have a domino effect on the rest of the roster. It could mean bad news for fan favorite Deuce Vaughn, who disappointed in limited playing time as a rookie. Similarly, Rico Dowdle could be in for less touches as Dallas' leading returning rusher.

Beyond the backfield, Elliott donning his familiar No. 21 jersey seemingly put and end to talk of Stephon Gilmore's potential return. In a surprising turn of events, though, the Cowboys announced Wednesday that Elliott will wear the No. 15 jersey next season. He wore that number with the Patriots in 2023 and at Ohio State.

Ezekiel Elliott jersey switch keeps Cowboys fans' Stephon Gilmore dream alive

While Elliott's change of heart obviously doesn't confirm that Gilmore will be back, it keeps the door open. Gilmore wore No. 21 last season. Elliott taking that jersey likely would have ruled out a Gilmore reunion. Now, fans can't help but speculate whether the Cowboys are kicking the tires on re-signing Gilmore.

Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reported in light of this announcement that nothing is "imminent" regarding Gilmore's return. Elliott's jersey switch might not mean much in the moment, but it speaks volumes that Cowboys reporters feel the need to clarify Gilmore's status, does it not?

The former Defensive Player of the Year could just as easily sign with another team, but free agency is almost two months old and he's still available. He was linked with a return to the Panthers, where he played in 2021. Former South Carolina teammate Jadeveon Clowney even recruited Gilmore, but team reporters are convinced that Carolina wants to stay young at the position.

Other than that, not much has been disclosed on Gilmore's market. A veteran of Gilmore's caliber doesn't need a full offseason program to be ready for the 2024 season, but he is by far the best remaining free agent who still hasn't been signed.

Again, Elliott's jersey switch can mean anything, but keeping No. 21 all but would have ended the Gilmore buzz for good. It still might be a long shot given Dallas' cap situation, but it's a possibility nonetheless in light of this unexpected plot twist.

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