DALLAS (SILVER STAR NATION) – Just as the NFL Free Agency window is opening, longtime Dallas Cowboys offensive force Ezekiel Elliot is on his way out the door.
The team confirmed that they and Elliot were parting ways in a statement sent out just after the window opened at 3 p.m.
Owner Jerry Jones called Elliot a “consummate professional and leader that set a tone in our locker room, on the practice field and in the huddle,” adding that his “impact and influence is seared into the Cowboys franchise in a very special and indelible way.”
Even with that, Jones went on to say that the team and Elliot agreed that the best decision for both was for him to enter free agency.
“This is one of the toughest parts of operating a team. Moments like this come, and extremely difficult decisions and choices are made. For the franchise. For me personally. For players too,” Jones wrote in a statement. “We will always have a special place and love for Zeke and what he means to our Cowboys family, both as a person and a player. That will never change.”
According to Silver Star Nation insider Mickey Spagnola, the Cowboys have informed Elliott that he will be designated as a post-June 1 release in order to create cap space.
The Cowboys will receive $10.9 in cap relief as a result of the move. Elliott’s contract will still count $5.82 million in dead money against the cap in 2023.
ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter reported the news earlier Wednesday noting the team would still take a $4.9 million cap hit in 2024.
The six-year veteran ran for a career-low 876 yards in 2022 but still racked up 12 touchdowns. The former Ohio State Buckeye was the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by Dallas and immediately made a splash in the league, taking the 2016 rushing crown with 1,631 yards on the ground.
The three-time Pro Bowl pick signed a six-year contract extension in 2019, but since that time his numbers have dropped from his hot start in the league. That deal guaranteed him $50 million.
Dallas had listed Elliot as Number 1 on the depth chart for their running back corps, even though Tony Pollard actually topped the team last season with 1,007 rushing yards. The Cowboys used the franchise tag earlier this month on Pollard, giving him a one-year, $10.09 million guaranteed deal.
“That franchise [tag] is there and should be used judiciously used for the right spot,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said at the time news of the deal broke. “I really don’t want to say it’s a done thing because as these things come and go, you don’t know where you are until the deadline comes and goes but right now, certainly Tony is a big part of our plans.”