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Dallas Cowboys release RB Ezekiel Elliott after 7 seasons

The Dallas Cowboys have released running back Ezekiel Elliott, the team announced Wednesday.

Elliott’s contract would have counted $16.7 million against the team’s salary cap with a non-guaranteed base salary of $10.9 million. The 27-year-old will be designated for a post-June 1 cut. according to ESPN’s Adam SchefterWhich means the team will save nearly $11 million against the 2023 cap, but count just over $6 million against the 2024 cap.

The move comes weeks after owner Jerry Jones said he would be willing to keep Elliott and running back Tony Pollard. The tandem seemed unlikely given that the Cowboys recently placed the franchise tag on Pollard and the team that billed him as the leading rusher last season.

“Zeke’s impact and influence is etched into the Cowboys franchise in a very special and indelible way,” Jones said in a statement. “He has been a consummate professional and a leader who set the tone in our locker room, on the practice field and in the meeting. Zeke defined what a great teammate should be, and anyone who has ever played a team sport would be lucky to have a teammate like Zeke and be all the better for it.

“He wore the Cowboys star with pride and purpose every time he put it on, and we are a better franchise for the example he set for veterans and rookies alike.”

The Cowboys selected Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent seven seasons with the team, playing in six postseason games. In the 2019 offseason, the former Ohio State star signed a six-year contract extension worth $90 million after rushing for a league-high 1,434 rushing yards in 2018. That year, he averaged 95.6 yards per rushing per game and also caught 77 passes for 567 receiving yards. .

Injuries have hampered Elliott of late, as he played with a partially torn ACL in 2021 and missed two games in 2022 with a hyperextended right knee. Elliott’s injuries gave way to Pollard, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,007 yards and scoring 12 total touchdowns.

Elliot posted career-low rushing and receiving yards last season, totaling 876 and 92 respectively. However, he still scored 12 touchdowns and was used in short-range situations. Elliott reached 10,000 all-purpose yards last season, joining Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett as the only running backs to do so in Cowboys history.

Prescott and Elliott emerged in Dallas as rookies in 2016. Prescott replaced Tony Romo, who suffered a back injury in preseason and lost the starting job, after being selected in the fourth round (135th pick) and winning the Associated Press. Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Elliott finished in second place.

Elliott ends his Cowboys career with 8,262 yards on 1,881 carries and 68 rushing touchdowns. He made 305 receptions for 2,336 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 80 career touchdowns are the third most in team history behind Smith (164) and Dorsett (86).

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