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Ezekiel Elliott only has 1 good option for 2023?

Ezekiel Elliot looking ahead

Jan 5, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) prior to the NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott is unlikely to enter the 2023 season as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting running back, but remaining with the team may be his only realistic option.

Elliott has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract. The Cowboys would incur a dead salary cap hit of $11.86 million if they cut him, which is significantly less than the $16 million Elliott would count toward the cap in 2023 if he returns under his current deal. Moving on is one option, but there has also been talk of Elliott taking a significant pay cut.

According to Bob Sturm of The Athletic, that may be Elliott’s best — if not only — option. Strum wrote that he has spoken with scouts about Elliott and the general consensus is that Zeke “has very little left in his legs and the word is out.” Because of that, Elliott’s only chance to make above the veteran minimum in 2023 may be with the Cowboys.

Elliott rushed for 876 yards and averaged 3.8 yards per carry this season, which were both career-worsts. He was outplayed by Tony Pollard, who had 1,007 rushing yards and added 371 receiving yards. Pollard scored 12 total touchdowns. The Cowboys want Pollard back and may use the franchise tag on him.

Even if Elliott has lost a step, there is probably a team out there that would be willing to pay him more than the league minimum. Zeke has made his stance clear on his future in Dallas, so perhaps the two sides will work something out.

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