Earlier this month the Dallas Cowboys cut ties with running back Ezekiel Elliott. Head coach Mike McCarthy said the door is still open for Elliott to return.
“Yeah, definitely. I think you always keep the door open. Absolutely,” McCarthy told reporters Monday, according to Kevin Patra.
The emergence of fourth-year back Tony Pollard last season, tied in with the $16.7 million cap hit Elliott carried into 2023, led to the Cowboys letting Elliott go.
Elliott burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2016, leading the league in rushing attempts and yards, finishing third in NFL MVP voting. He followed that with two more Pro Bowl seasons in the next three years.
A cut in workload led to a dip in his yardage numbers. Since 2020, Elliott has averaged 60.8 yards a game and four yards per attempt, a dramatic drop from his first four seasons in the league. From 2016-2019, Elliott averaged 96.5 yards per game and 4.6 yards per attempt. Elliott averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per attempt in 2022.
It was reported last week that Elliott has narrowed down his list of preferred destinations to the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.
It's not easy for a franchise to cut ties with a player who was once a pillar of the organization. McCarthy said “no one felt good about that,” in regards to releasing Elliott. Football is a business though, and Elliott's production across the last three seasons does not reflect the money he was given nor the money he was owed for the remaining years of his contract.
Despite an initial split, at least the Cowboys head coach is open to an Ezekiel Elliott return at some point.