Mike McCarthy perfectly explains why Cowboys haven’t re-signed Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

Dallas Cowboys head coach and newly-assigned play-caller spoke on a possible Ezekiel Elliott reunion during training camp.

With Ezekiel Elliott still unsigned into the first few days of August, the feeling that a reunion with the Dallas Cowboys grows considerably. Jerry Jones, the man who decided to cut Elliott from America’s Team just months ago, has already acknowledged that it’s a real possibility.

Dallas is in need of running back help since one of their backs, Ronald Jones II, will be suspended for the first two games of the season. That leaves the room in the hands of Tony Pollard, second-year back Malik Davis, and sixth-round draft pick Deuce Vaughn.

Pollard will likely take the lion’s share of carries for the offense in Jones’s absence serving his PED suspension, which may be unideal because it takes more tread off the fifth-year player’s tires.

So, enter Elliott, who already has a good feel for Cowboys culture and the offense they like to run. He’s clearly a logical addition now that they can bring him back for far less money than they had him earmarked for before, right? Not so fast, says head coach Mike McCarthy.

Mike McCarthy sees opportunity other than Ezekiel Elliott for Cowboys

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is solely responsible for the offensive play-calling this year but doesn’t seem too anxious about the personnel putting those calls into play. Asked about Elliott, McCarthy hinted at preferring to see the current roster shoulder the extra carries, not Elliott.

It makes sense to use this as an opportunity to first see how Davis and Vaughn play out in training camp and preseason games before knee-jerking into Elliott just because he’s a familiar option. Maybe, Dallas likes what it sees in the fresh legs of those two and doesn’t need to make an external signing.

After all, Dallas already parted ways with Zeke. A significant part of that decision was due to cost, but the other side of things was the fact that Elliott’s performance had declined drastically. His approximate value dropped to six, the lowest single-season of his career, in 2023 after hitting double-digit AV three times in his first four seasons.

There’s a possible — albeit unknown — upside to the in-house options right now. With Zeke, you only get more of the same.

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