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NFL Head Coach Shoots Down Ezekiel Elliott Talk

by Suzanne Halliburton
ezekiel elliott
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

There’s a bunch of chatter in regards to Ezekiel Elliott and where he’ll be signing. The Cowboys released one of the best backs in team history last week. And he now needs a new team.

On Thursday, ESPN reported that Ezekiel Elliott’s final three choices are the Bengals, Jets and the Eagles. But this was news to at least one of the teams. Apparently, Elliott isn’t on Cincinnati’s free agent radar. Zeke may want the Bengals on his wish list, but Cincy is saying it’s not you, it’s me.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor talked free agents in general, when asked a specific question about Ezekiel Elliott. He told WCPO-TV Thursday night:

“There’s a lot of great players that are available right now. We like our team as where it’s at right now. But it’s always funny when things get thrown around. Sometimes, it’s the first you hear of it. But that’s just the way life works.”

The Bengals do need to work on their running back situation. The team likely will ask Joe Mixon to restructure his contract. Or, the Bengals may cut him in a similar situation to what the Cowboys did with Elliott.

Taylor and the Bengals got to see Elliott first hand in 2022. The Cowboys beat the Bengals in week two, with Zeke notching 53 yards on 15 carries.

BJ Hill tackles Ezekiel Elliott in a September game between the Cowboys and Bengals. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Other than Ezekiel Elliott, the two free-agent tailbacks with significant NFL experience who are available are Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt. Samaje Perine already left the Bengals to sign with the Broncos.

So what does Zeke do?

The running backs for the Jets don’t seem to want Ezekiel Elliott. Breece Hall, who was a rookie last season, tweeted: “I think we good over here.” Hall, the former Iowa State star, tagged fellow Jets back Michael Carter. He then deleted the tweet.

Hall was having a nice rookie season until October. That’s when he tore his ACL and needed a surgical repair. Still, he and Carter led the team in rushing. Hall topped the team rushing list with 463 yards and four touchdowns. Carter ran for 402 with three scores.

Philadelphia already has added Rashaad Penny. Miles Sanders, who led the Eagles in rushing in 2022, left the team in free agency and signed with Carolina.

Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliott is a running back on the decline, possibly because of injuries. He played with a partially-torn PCL in 2021. And he missed two games last fall because of a hyperextended knee. He suffered through career lows last season in yards (876) and carries (231).