This Cowboys free agent signing pegged one of NFL's worst offseason moves

Will the Cowboys live to regret this move?
Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys
Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys had an all-too familiar approach to free agency this offseason. While the roster wasn't crying out for Jerry Jones to spend like a drunken sailor, it had a couple glaring weakness that reared their ugly head in the wild card loss and the Cowboys bypassed chance after chance to fix them.

There's something to be said about the signing of linebacker Eric Kendricks, who has years of experience in Mike Zimmer's defense from their time with the Vikings. Additionally, cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who re-signed on a one-year deal, fits Zimmer's scheme like a glove.

While those moves could pay off, the Cowboys made other cost-effective transactions that they might come to regret.

Signing running back Royce Freeman did little to move the needle. The same can be said for swing tackle Chuma Edoga, though that move looks marginally better after Dallas drafted Tyler Guyton and Cooper Beebe.

However, there's one Cowboys free agency signing that Bleacher Report's Christopher Knox believes was one of the worst moves of the NFL offseason: bringing back Ezekiel Elliott.

Will the Cowboys regret signing Ezekiel Elliott?

In short, Knox is not impressed by how the Cowboys went about replacing Tony Pollard. He called Dallas' decision to bring back Elliott a "head-scratching move" and strongly believes the team will regret not having more urgency to upgrade its rushing attack with so many core players in contracts years.

"With Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb both slated to be 2025 free agents, this might be Dallas' last chance to make a serious postseason run. Carrying a one-dimensional offense into the season is something the Cowboys will regret."

We're not going to pretend signing Elliott was some genius move, but the grade shouldn't be baked into the futures of Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb. Even if Prescott and Lamb sign extensions before the 2024 season, and regardless of whether the 2025 offseason could bring sweeping changes to the franchise, bringing back Elliott would still fall under the "head-scratching" category.

While Knox's assessment is somewhat wonky, he's not wrong in pegging Elliott as a confounding signing. While Elliott can still be effective in a committee, his burst from early in his career is almost completely gone and his efficiency has plummeted as a result.

Zeke, who'll turn 29 during training camp, hasn't averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry since 2021 and he hasn't posted north of 4.2 yards per rush since way back in 2019, which is when he last made the Pro Bowl.

In a vacuum, though, was this really one of the worst moves of the offseason? It might have been uninspiring, but it's a little unfair to Elliott. He essentially signed for the vet minimum and can still be a serviceable runner. He's also a stud in pass protection and is a fantastic locker room presence.

If anything, the Cowboys' approach to overhauling their RB room should've been the pick. Elliott doesn't deserve to wear this.

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