HomeSportsNFLSurprising Front-Runner Emerges for Ezekiel Elliott in NFL Free Agency

Surprising Front-Runner Emerges for Ezekiel Elliott in NFL Free Agency

by Nick Geddes
Ezekiel Elliott
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

There appears to be a team to watch for in the sweepstakes for free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Cincinnati Bengals are looking to add to their backfield and could be “looming large” for Elliott. Fowler noted the arrival of Elliott would be to pair the three-time Pro Bowler with Joe Mixon, or to move on from the 26-year-old entirely.

“People around the league believe the Bengals here could be looming large. I’m told they are looking to add a running back in either free agency or the draft,” Fowler said on ‘NFL Live’ Friday. “Either to pair with Joe Mixon or if they were to move on from Mixon they could save nearly $8 million against the cap.”

The Dallas Cowboys released Elliott, 27, on March 15. Elliott spent seven seasons in Dallas, rushing for 8,262 yards and 68 touchdowns on 4.4 yards per carry. Elliott, however, regressed in 2022. He suited up in 15 games, recording career lows across the board. Elliott rushed for 876 yards on 3.8 yards per carry and had zero 100-yard-plus games. He added 17 receptions for 92 yards.

Are the Bengals a Fit for Ezekiel Elliott?

A possible marriage with Cincinnati would be a surprise based on the recent comments from head coach Zac Taylor. Asked specifically about Elliott at the St. Xavier’s 39th annual Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Thursday night, Taylor told WCPO-TV:

“There’s a lot of great players that are available right now,” Taylor said. “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.”

Mixon, meanwhile, could become a cap casualty after a down season. In 14 games, Mixon rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns on 3.9 yards per carry. Mixon did contribute more as a receiver, recording a career-high 60 receptions for 441 yards and two scores.

Cowboys Say Goodbye to Ezekiel Elliott

Following the release of Elliott, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones penned a goodbye to the man he selected fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State.

“Zeke’s impact and influence is seared into the Cowboys franchise in a very special and indelible way,” Jones said. “He has been a consummate professional and leader that set a tone in our locker room, on the practice field, and in the huddle. Zeke defined what a great teammate should be. Anyone that has ever played a team sport would be lucky to have a teammate like Zeke. And they’d be much better for it. His commitment and passion for winning are selfless.

“The accountability he brings every day earned the respect of our coaches, his teammates, and our entire organization. He wore the Cowboys Star with pride and purpose every single time he put it on. We’re a better franchise because of the example he set for veterans and rookies alike.