The Dallas Cowboys are yet again entering another offseason in which they failed to make it past the Divisional Round. After their loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys have made some news by retaining head coach Mike McCarthy and named him offensive play-caller after parting ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Not to mention that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is returning after turning down head coaching opportunities. But what are they doing in terms of the roster? What about Ezekiel Elliott?
For Cowboys fans who want the team to move on from Elliott, you won’t like the latest update from team owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones.
While at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., both Jerry and Stephen said that they would both like Elliott to return to the team next season. However, Stephen did say that it “has to work financially.”
Both Jerry and Stephen Jones were adamant they want Ezekiel Elliott to return next season but Stephen reiterated it “has to work financially” for both sides.
— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) February 1, 2023
Cowboys want Ezekiel Elliott to return next season
The Cowboys do have a choice to make regarding Elliott. Entering the league year, they are $7.6 million over the salary cap threshold, which is set at $224.8 million, per Spotrac. Back in 2019, Elliott signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension, a move that has been criticized since.
If the Cowboys were to release Elliott prior to June 1, they would save approximately $4.86 million in cap space this season, while accumulating $11.86 million in dead cap. But if they were to wait until after June 1, they would save $10.9 million in cap space, but accumulate $5.82 million in dead cap in 2023 and $6.04 million in dead cap in 2024.
This past season, Elliott ran for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns on 231 carries, while catching 17-of-23 passes for 92 yards.
What the Cowboys do with Elliott could be pivotal, as the team is set to watch running back Tony Pollard enter free agency. While he did suffer a high ankle sprain in the 49ers game, he is expected to be ready before training camp after undergoing a “TightRope” procedure. When healthy, Pollard was a big contributor in Dallas offense, as he ran for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns on 193 carries, while catching 39-of-55 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns.
While the Joneses would like Elliott back, Stephen stresses that it must make financial sense to do so.