It’s also very possible Elliott is back with the Cowboys in 2023. He’s Jerry Jones’ guy and a leader in the locker room, and the owner, for better or worse (definitely worse), likely feels like he owes it to Elliott not to outright release him.
Whether that’s in the Cowboys’ best interest is open for interpretation, but seemingly everyone realizes there’s two possible outcomes in regard to Elliott’s future: either he’s back on a markedly reduced salary, or Dallas cuts him.
As ideal as it would be, trading Elliott isn’t in the realm of possibility.
Don’t tell that to Bleacher Report, though, which cobbled together a trio of “hypothetical trade packages” for the 27-year-old running back.
Ezekiel Elliott’s Contract
◾ 5 yrs, $65.3M left
◾ 1 yr, $12.4M GTD
Dead Cap (Savings)
22: $30M (-$11.8M)
22: $17.6M ($540k)
22: $18.2M ($0)
22: $5.82M ($12.4M)
— Spotrac (@spotrac) January 17, 2022
Could the Cowboys realistically trade Ezekiel Elliott this offseason.
The first of Bleacher Report’s proposals involves the Buccaneers, who could cut Leonard Fournette this offseason. Odds are Tampa Bay will be in the market for a running back after 2022 third-round pick Rachaad White averaged just 3.7 yards per carry as a rookie.
Buccaneers get: Ezekiel Elliott
Cowboys get: 2023 third-round pick (No. 83 overall)
This would be an absolute coup by the Cowboys. Translation: it’s not happening. The Buccaneers would sooner draft a RB in the first round than offload a top 85 pick for a declining back who hasn’t averaged at least 4.5 yards per attempt since 2019 four seasons ago.
The second scenario involves the Rams, and is actually a blockbuster trade. Los Angeles certainly needs a running back after they waived Darrell Henderson, and with Cam Akers struggling to piggyback off an impressive rookie year.
In this trade, the Cowboys get rid of Zeke, and acquire a player they could’ve drafted instead of the Ohio State running back in 2016.
JALEN RAMSEY SNATCHED THAT
— PFF (@PFF) September 18, 2022
Rams get: Ezekiel Elliott, 2023 second-round pick, 2024 fourth-round pick
Cowboys get: Jalen Ramsey
We admittedly have zero idea what the trade market is for top-tier cornerbacks, but this trade doesn’t seem that farfetched, oddly enough. It all depends on the Rams’ interest, or lack thereof, in Elliott. LA is starving for draft picks after they mortgaged their future to win the Super Bowl last year, and it’s unclear whether a second- and fourth-round pick for Ramsey would move the needle.
In the third and final scenario, the Cowboys strike a deal with the Chargers, who are desperate to overtake the Chiefs in the AFC West. Everyone realizes Austin Ekeler needs a sidekick, and Elliott profiling as a short-yardage/goal line back at this stage of his career would be an ideal complement to Ekeler.
Chargers get: Ezekiel Elliott
Cowboys get: 2023 third-round pick
If Dallas gets more for Zeke (if they even trade him) than what they did for Amari Cooper, then fans owe the front office an apology. That just isn’t realistic, though. What team is trading a third-round pick for Elliott when they could simply pluck one of the many talented RB prospects in this year’s draft.
Some mocks even have the Chargers taking Texas phenom Bijan Robinson. The idea of Elliott reuniting with Kellen Moore is fun, but teams are smart enough to wait for Dallas to release Zeke than jump the gun to trade him for a valuable draft asset.
Welcome to the dog days of the offseason, folks.