Cowboys could have an electric replacement for Ezekiel Elliott
With Ezekiel Elliott no longer with the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell pitched this electric running back to replace him.
The Dallas Cowboys made a variety of changes to their offense this season, with some significant departures. While there were names out of Dallas like offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and tight end Dalton Schultz, perhaps the biggest name was running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys opted to release him from his deal, as he was set to account for $16.7 million against the cap.
As for how the Cowboys addressed the running back position thus far, they did keep Tony Pollard on the franchise tag, but he is coming off of a broken leg and high ankle sprain suffered in the NFC Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers, while signing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell (subscription required) took a look at specific positions and teams that lost a key player “without fully replacing them” and their most likely path to replacing them. When it comes to the Cowboys and how to address the running back position, Barnwell did bring up the chance “expensive veterans” could be cut from their respective teams after the NFL Draft. One of those running backs that Barnwell listed was Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings.
Dalvin Cook an option to replace Ezekiel Elliott on Cowboys?
Cook was listed as an option the Cowboys could explore by Barnwell, who also suggested re-signing Ezekiel Elliott, looking at free-agent options (Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Latavius Murray), or drafting a running back.
This offseason, Cook has been the subject of trade rumors . The Vikings had moved on from longtime players like wide receiver Adam Thielen and linebacker Eric Kendricks this offseason. Cook is set to account for $14 million against the salary cap for the 2023 season. Not to mention that the team re-signed Alexander Mattison to a two-year, $7 million contract.
Cook does bring the name value to the running back position. Not to mention that he has been named to the Pro Bowl for four consecutive seasons. In 17 games this past season, Cook ran for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns on 264 carries. However, his 4.4 average yards per carry were the lowest for any season in his career.
As for whether this would actually happen, here is what Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher had to say about it :
“We can’t speak to the odds of what Minnesota might do with Dalvin; Barnwell may have insight there that usurps ours. But we can tell you that as with “Derrick to Dallas,” “Dalvin to Dallas” is not a product of a quote, a source or even an idea from inside The Star … but rather, is the product of ESPN’s provocative imagination,” writes Fisher.
As of now, the Cowboys will be running with Pollard and Jones as their top two running backs to start the season. We should have a better idea of what their positional depth could look like, and if they could make another addition, after the NFL Draft (Apr. 27-29).