speculation continues to grow about Ezekiel Elliott’s future with the Dallas Cowboys after Tony Pollard’s great performance. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell thinks that the Cowboys may move on from Elliott following next season. This would allow the Cowboys to retain Pollard in free agency in 2022. Barnwell said that NFL running backs significant contracts are now big problem and that Pollard could be the most valuable rusher on the Dallas roster.
Barnwell explained that Prescott has had a 67.6 QBR when Elliott was on the field, and a 68.1 QBR when Pollard took his place. The Cowboys are also moving towards a more pass-happy approach. Although Elliott is still an effective player, he has become a secondary piece to the Dallas offense. It is reasonable to question if Elliott is even the best back on Dallas’ roster at the moment. For cap reasons, the Cowboys have Elliott locked in for one more season in 2022.
After Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner, said Elliott would carry a heavy load, Elliott had 13 carries of 45 yards against Saints. Elliott has been suffering from a knee injury that has severely limited his production. Jones expressed his confidence in Elliott and said that he expects a “powerful, dynamic Zeke” to finish the season.
“But no, I don’t think so,” Jones said to Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan on December 3rd. His trainers, those closest to his health and his medical situation, think he’s good to go. So, I don’t think he’s going to see me after a 10-day break here or a lot of games, if you can make it through them.
“If you can push on, then that’s better for you than sitting it out and then you actually, if you have an issue, it improves if you’re able to get through and not injure it more. He certainly didn’t injure anything any more last night, and so I really look forward to a powerful and dynamic Zeke as we move on into the last part of this season.”
Elliott has a six year, $90 million contract that runs through the 2026 season. It is the most lucrative NFL running back contract. Spotrac reports that the Cowboys could opt out of Elliott’s contract after the 2022 season. However, Dallas would need to pay $11.8 in cap hits if they released the star running back.
Elliott could be traded by the Cowboys, although Elliott’s lucrative contract that will pay him $16 million in 2026 means that he has limited trade value. After the 2022 season, Pollard will become a free agent . This could mean that the Dallas front office has to make a choice between the two backs.