Owner Jerry Jones has refused to close the door on Ezekiel Elliott’s potential return to the Dallas Cowboys in 2023.
but he saysHe decided to release a two-time NFL Rush ChampionAfter seven years with the franchise, finishing as the team’s third-best rusher and touchdown scorer of all time, he was the right person for the franchise.
And the Cowboys outperformed them on the field and salary cap, which proved to be the overwhelming factor.
“It’s all been about making adjustments for Caps, mostly because of where we’ve been,” Jones said at the NFL Owners’ Meeting in Arizona Biltmore. Again, given what it took to make it work and what we could actually do to improve it through planning and other players, it was worth saving the money on Cap.”
Elliott was set to accrue $16.7 million against the salary cap in 2023, accounting for a non-guaranteed base salary of $10.9 million. And that figure will be invalidated after the team gives Tony Pollard a franchise tag and he guarantees $10.1 million in 2023.
Elliot was released as a cut after June 1st. This means the club can save around $11 million against his 2023 cap.
Elliott’s imminent release and exit had been predicted since he signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension in 2019.
It might have come sooner if it weren’t for the guarantees in his contract that forced the Cowboys to keep him on the roster for the past two years despite declining production.
After a season in which Elliott had a career-low 876 yards in 2022, it was a matter of when.
Elliott was happy to take the cut to stay with the Cowboys, Jones said, but was never offered by the Cowboys.
“No, especially no,” Jones said plainly.
However, Jones refused to close the door on Elliott’s Cowboys career and won’t do so until he signs with another team. Elliott has an optional wishlist, but destination is still free agency.
“I never want to and never leave him or a fan or anyone hanging,” Jones said. “But I’m not going to take any chances off the table.”
Joined by Elliott as a fourth-round pick in 2016, Jones teamed with quarterback Dak Prescott to lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and a rookie title in the NFC East.
Elliott missed six games in 2017 due to an NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Standing by him in the fight against the NFL in the process was Jones, even threatening to sue the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Adding three divisional championships for the team during his tenure, and a contract that was extended in 2019, and at times acrimonious, Jones and Elliott’s bond has gone down in Cowboys history as an owner and player. It was the only one among
“Well, Zeke gave us everything he had,” said Jones. is how I want it to end.”