5 best Ezekiel Elliott landing spots if Cowboys cut RB

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is in danger of being on the chopping block this offseason no matter what Jerry Jones says. Here’s where he could land in 2023.

Even the owner of the most valuable franchise in the NFL can’t have his cake and eat it, too. The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly placing a franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard in a move that has serious implications for Ezekiel Elliott’s future on the team.

If the Cowboys want to keep Elliott, they will have to pour in around $20 million dollars in their running back room — and that’s assuming Elliott restructures his current deal.

As much as Jerry Jones and the Cowboys fanbase loves Zeke, it’s just financially irresponsible to spend that kind of money on one of the league’s most injury-prone positions.

Dallas could save about $11 million against the cap if the team designates Elliott as a post-June1 cut or trade candidate. Where could the 2016 first-rounder end up this offseason?

Here’s a look at five potential landing spots around the league.

Ezekiel Elliott rumors: 5 best landing spots if Cowboys cut RB

5. Atlanta Falcons

Let’s start with the team that has the most cap space on this list. The Atlanta Falcons are widely rumored to be in the running for Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson if Jackson becomes available, but they could also go to bat for Elliott to totally revolutionize their game on the ground.

At the running back position, the Falcons invested a late-round 2022 pick in Tyler Allgeier and have a versatile talent in Cordarrelle Patterson along with a few other bodies. Patterson was limited to 13 games last season due to injury and poses more as a Swiss Army talent rather than a true workhorse back, and Allgeier may not be ready to take the reins yet.

Elliott would give Atlanta a starting-caliber No. 1 running back to serve as the team’s engine on the ground, bailing the offense out whenever Desmond Ridder or *insert middling quarterback here* under center starts to get flustered.

Many years removed from his 1,600-plus yard rushing rookie season on the Cowboys, Elliott still has the legs and resilience (he’s played in 15 or more games in six of his seven NFL seasons) to get the job done.

4. Washington Commanders

The New York Giants would have been funnier to include, but they have their own extension issues to worry about. Instead, could the Washington Commanders look to bring on Elliott in 2023?

Why not? The Commanders’ RB room consists of Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson, the former of whom may have lost the team’s confidence after struggling with fumbles early in the 2022 season.

The rookie Robinson, on the other hand, has turned into the franchise’s darling having miraculously recovered from a gunshot wound in August and playing in 12 games last year. As incredible as his recovery story is, though, Robinson may need more time to adjust to a workhorse role.

With the Commanders’ future at quarterback looking murky at best, a hard-nosed runner like Elliott can pair well with the young and scrappy Robinson to add a dangerous dimension to their offense.

Elliott’s efficiency is ever so slightly worse than Robinson’s (3.8 yards per carry vs. 3.9 yards per carry), but not every team will be so lucky as to land a Christian McCaffrey. At the end of the day, having two solid and reliable backs is better than one.

3. Buffalo Bills

It feels like the Buffalo Bills’ 2022 season flashed before everyone’s eyes. In one moment, they were hailed as Super Bowl favorites. In another, they were eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen, and oh, how an elite running back like Zeke could help the team get back up.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the Bills went wrong this year. Bills’ Mafia could only watch in bare-chested, frostbitten horror as Josh Allen, who lost his offensive coordinator last offseason, threw picks left and right in the end zone, and as the typically stout pass defense let the Cincinnati Bengals walk all over them in the postseason.

One of the perennial shortcomings of Buffalo’s offense has been its run game, and landing Ezekiel Elliott in 2023 could set their course straight.

Devin Singletary has failed to eclipse 900 yards in any of the past four seasons. 2022 promising second-rounder James Cook has the potential to usurp Singletary and break out as the No. 1 running back this year, but what has “potential” and “promising” done for the Bills in the last half decade?

After drafting extra-terrestrial talent Josh Allen, the Bills had all the potential in the universe to create a dominant dynasty on par with the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. While the Chiefs have reached the Super Bowl in three of the last four years, the Bills haven’t gotten there once in the Allen era.

Bills’ Mafia is understandably growing restless, and perhaps a big shake-up is coming this offseason. Getting Zeke won’t solve all of the Bills’ problems, but at least it’s a start.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What do you do when you lose your starting quarterback? You find a way to keep competing. And Ezekiel Elliott is the most clear-cut answer to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ impending struggles in 2023.

Elliott won’t magically turn an identity-less team into a Super Bowl contender, but he can at least soften the transition a bit.

As the Bucs grapple with the question of who will play quarterback next season, they can still give themselves a fighting chance to win the NFC South by acquiring Elliott. In 2022, Tampa Bay finished as the worst run offense in the league, averaging 75.6 yards per game, a 20-yard drop-off from last year. The only reason the Bucs topped their division and punched a ticket to the playoffs was because of Brady’s immortal arm.

With Brady out of the question, the Bucs are left with a broken offensive scheme to fix in one offseason, and going after a talented ball-carrier in Elliott could actually put them right back in playoff contention considering the Bucs play in the worst division in football.

Leonard Fournette declined in efficiency by the season’s end, averaging just 2.2 yards on 11 carries in the playoff loss to the Cowboys. Rookie Rachaad White looked good compared to Fournette but still isn’t an every-down starting option.

If the Bucs are worried about scoring production next year (and they absolutely should be worried about it), they should take a serious look at Elliott, who boasts one of the highest success rates against stacked boxes.

1. Los Angeles Rams

If we were the Rams, we would act as though the 2022 season never happened. Poof.

In this hypothetical scenario, Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford would be looking to run in back in 2023, and they can get a top-tier running back in Ezekiel Elliott to increase their chances of winning another ring.

Do the Rams need to make major moves this offseason to repair their offensive line, among other areas? Absolutely.

But with a healthy Stafford and Cooper Kupp back on the field and with McVay turning down an outrageous amount of money to continue coaching this godforsaken 5-12 squad, the Rams shouldn’t be forgotten so quickly.

Especially if they manage to get their hands on Zeke this offseason. Los Angeles made it to the big stage in 2021 for a host of reasons, one of them being the effective one-two punch of Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson. Both those backs’ departures have since left a gaping hole on the ground, one that Zeke could theoretically fill right away.

Cam Akers was the sore subject of trade rumors for several weeks in 2022, and the Rams would be doing everyone involved a huge favor by just ending his misery. Trade him or cut him, but start anew.

An offensive trio of Stafford, Kupp, and Elliott should strike fear into any team’s hearts. Throw in a reliable tight end in Tyler Higbee, revamp the offensive line, plug in a few defensive holes, and you’ve got yourself a Super Bowl contender.

Screw ’em picks, am I right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *