Former Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott eyeing Eagles, Jets, Bengals, sources say

Ezekiel Elliott would like to make his decision about where to sign by the end of next week, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

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Friday, March 24, 2023
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PHILADELPHIA -- Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has narrowed down his options about where to play in 2023 to the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Elliott, 27, would like to make his decision about where to sign by the end of next week, the sources told Schefter.

When he does play with a new team, it likely will be in a number other than the No. 21 he wore for the Cowboys for the past seven seasons. On Thursday, Elliott tweeted: "I want my #15 back," referring to the number he wore at Ohio State.

With the Eagles, Elliott would join a backfield led by newly signed Rashaad Penny and including Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell and Trey Sermon. Miles Sanders, the Eagles' leading rusher last season, left in free agency to sign with the Carolina Panthers.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) is seen after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. Dallas won 40-34.
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

In New York, Elliott would join a depth chart led by Breece Hall, who is returning from a torn ACL suffered last season. The Jets also agreed to re-sign Ty Johnson to a one-year contract Thursday, a source told Schefter, and have Zonovan Knight and Michael Carter on the roster.

If Elliott were to join the Bengals, he'd join a squad led by Joe Mixon and including Chris Evans and Trayveon Williams. Samaje Perine left in free agency to sign with the Denver Broncos.

Elliott, who was set to count $16.7 million against the Cowboys' salary cap, was released by the team March 15.

In 2019, Elliott signed a six-year extension worth $90 million that included $50 million in guaranteed money, but his numbers fell off the past three seasons, topping 1,000 yards (with 1,002) only once -- in 2021, when the league expanded to a 17-game schedule.

Injuries slowed Elliott the past two years. He played through a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in 2021 while not missing a game. He missed only two games in 2022 because of a hyperextended right knee but wore a brace for most of the season.

Although Elliott continued as the starter, the Cowboys relied more on Tony Pollard last season. Pollard ran for 1,007 yards, scored 12 touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time. The Cowboys placed their franchise tag, worth $10.091 million, on Pollard last month. A source told ESPN's Todd Archer that Pollard signed that tender on Thursday. Pollard and the Cowboys have until July 17 to work out a long-term deal.

Elliott had a career-low 876 rushing yards in 2022, but he scored 12 touchdowns and remained a top short-yardage back and pass protector. But in the final four regular-season games, he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, and he had just 17 runs of 10 yards or more on the season.