Cowboys Could Sign Former $63 Million RB or 3-Time Pro Bowler

The Dallas Cowboys could be an ideal landing spot for two former great running backs.

Dalvin Cook

As reported by Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken, four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook and former Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott have “potential interest” in signing with the Cowboys. The interest from both free agent running backs isn’t exactly surprising considering Dallas has yet to replace former starting running back Tony Pollard.

“While they declined to comment, anyone contemplating the Cowboys’ direction at the position would be wise to monitor the veteran running backs in conjunction with a rookie pick,” wrote Gehlken on Tuesday, March 26. “Multiple people familiar with the players’ thinking told The News the veterans have interest in potentially signing with Dallas.”

It’s worth noting that Gehlken also mentions that the Cowboys neither confirmed or denied interest in either running back.

“Team owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones told the Dallas Morning News this week at the NFL’s annual meeting they could neither confirm nor deny interest in the running backs,” Gehlken wrote.

Why Cowboys Need a Veteran Running Back

The remaining market for free agent running backs is slim. Cook and Elliott are among the best remaining options — along with JK Dobbins and Kareem Hunt — but neither of them were full-time starters during the 2023 season.

Cook was an extremely disappointing signing by the New York Jets, ranking near the bottom of the league with 3.2 yards per carry before landing with the Baltimore Ravens at the end of the season following his release. The 28-year-old running back — who previously signed a five-year, $63 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings back in 2020 — was named to four consecutive Pro Bowls between 2019 and 2022.

Meanwhile, Elliott was a focal point of the New England Patriots’ offense — he even started five games towards the end of the season — but he ran for just 3.5 yards per carry. However, he did show to be a reliable option as a receiving weapon out of the backfield, catching 51 passes — his most since 2020 — despite appearing in just 51% of the offensive snaps.

Even though Cook and Elliott are clearly past their primes, they may have something left in the tank as complementary options to a young back. Elliott excelled in this role alongside Pollard during the 2022 season before the Cowboys moved on from him last offseason.

Cowboys Never Shut Door on Potential Ezekiel Elliott Return

The mention of Elliott’s interest in a reunion makes sense especially considering Dallas never shut the door on a possible return.

During last year’s NFL’s annual owner meeting, team owner Jerry Jones left the door open on Elliott’s return.

Via Clarence E. Hill Jr. of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“I don’t want to ever and I don’t want to leave him hanging or-fans hanging or anybody,” Jones said last March. “But I wouldn’t take any possibility off the table.”

The Cowboys will likely target a running back after the first round of the 2024 NFL draft — possibly the second or third round — to pair with a veteran back such as Elliott or Cook.

It’s worth noting that the Cowboys showed interest in signing both Zack Moss and A.J. Dillon earlier in free agency, only for both runners to sign elsewhere.

Considering the running backs on the current roster are Rico Dowdle, Malik Davis and Deuce Vaughn, it’s safe to assume the Cowboys aren’t done adding to the room.

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