Cowboys soar up cap space rankings after Ezekiel Elliott's post-June 1 release

Jan 8, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) carries the
Jan 8, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) carries the / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys fans are making their voices heard on social media amid the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes.

Hopkins was released by the Cardinals this week, so he's free to sign with any team. With the Cowboys all-in on next season following their trades for Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks, fans and talking heads alike would like the front office to make another Super Bowl-or-bust pickup.

Prior to Wednesday, Dallas had enough cap space -- $10.5 million, according to Over The Cap -- to make a serious run at Hopkins. An all-out pursuit still seems unlikely, but the team received a fresh allocation of cap space Thursday after Ezekiel Elliott's post-June 1 release designation became official.

The move saved the Cowboys $10.9 million, so their total cap space skyrockets to a whopping $20.4 million, or thereabouts. With the added $10.9 million, they jump from 19th in the cap rankings all the way up to seventh.

Cowboys save $10.9 million in cap room from Ezekiel Elliott's post-June 1 release

This simply is a perk of competent roster building and management. Releasing Elliott was unequivocally the right call for multiple reasons.

It showed that even a stubborn owner like Jerry Jones is capable of swallowing his pride in the name of team success. There's even a chance Elliott returns to Dallas this offseason, so it could end up being a win-win for everyone involved, assuming the former All-Pro running back wasn't too offended by the decision.

Either way, the Cowboys now have ample resources available to complete their offseason. With (minimal) needs at running back, linebacker and offensive line, Jones and company can afford free agents of all prices.

Hopkins, though, will likely go for $10-14 million. That's the major caveat.

While the Cowboys likely expressed interest before the Cooks trade, chances are they're content rolling with CeeDee Lamb, Cooks and Michael Gallup. That's an intimidating trio, especially if Gallup is as "springy" as he claims a full season removed from ACL surgery.

It's more likely Dallas sets aside its $20 million in cap room for contract extensions for Lamb and Trevon Diggs -- and perhaps Terence Steele -- and other cap particulars (incentives, injury settlements, etc.) than a big-ticket acquisition.

That might not sit well with fans given how manipulative the cap is, but it's truly hard to have any qualms with the Cowboys after the offseason they put together. The important thing is they have more than enough resources to make another all-in move if the right one presents itself.

All because they released Zeke. Imagine saying that five years ago.