The Dallas Cowboys finished in fourth place in the NFC in 2022, posting an impressive record of 12-5. They finished in the season in the top-5 in both offense and defense in terms of points allowed, and forced the most turnovers of any team in the league.
Their quarterback play was up and down, with backup Cooper Rush forced to fill in for an extended period, and Dak Prescott having serious turnover issues. Things got so bad for Prescott, that he was tied (with Davis Mills) for the league lead in interceptions with 15. Not only that, but it was the first time that a quarterback led the league in picks while missing five or more games.
Dallas Cowboys Could Save Money By Releasing Ezekiel Elliot
Prescott’s numbers were solid otherwise, and the team didn’t seem to suffer much in the win/loss columns due to the turnovers. But perhaps that was because of their ground attack, which finished 9th in total rushing yards and 2nd in rushing touchdowns. It was undoubtedly led by Tony Pollard and his 1007 yards and 12 total scores, but former star Ezekiel Elliot had a solid scoring season of his own.
It has been a while since we saw the dominant running back that rushed for 1300+ yards three times and was a Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro. But Elliot was able to rack up 876 yards despite Pollard’s numbers alongside him, and had 12 rushing touchdowns, which had him tied for 5th in the league.
While a dominant running game is something that should rarely be tampered with, the Cowboys might have to make a tough decision on Elliot’s future this off-season.
People around the NFL believe that #Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is a "prime cut candidate" before the new league begins, according to @AdamSchefter
Zeke has no more guaranteed money in his contract. pic.twitter.com/7XgUqHgqjt
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 2, 2023
As it stands today, Dallas sits a few million dollars over the salary cap for 2023. Like many teams, they will restructure contracts and certainly have cap casualties, and Elliot could be a prime candidate. The running back’s cap number is $16.7 million for 2023, or more than 7 percent of the team’s total salary.
But the Cowboys can save some cash by parting ways. Should Elliot be cut or traded after the June 1st designation, his dead cap hit would drop down to $5.8 million, meaning that Dallas would be able to save $10.9 million by getting rid of him.
They will have other roster decisions to make as the team tries to improve to be able to get over the hump in the playoffs. They have fallen to the 49ers in the postseason in each of the last two years, but they’ll need to lean on their running game should the two meet again in the playoffs. Will the Dallas Cowboys backfield be as strong without Elliot?
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