Could Ezekiel Elliott be headed to the Eagles?
Could Ezekiel Elliott be headed to the Eagles? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles have emerged as a possible landing spot for long-time Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter tweeted late Thursday afternoon that Elliott has “narrowed down his options about where to play to the Eagles, Jets and Bengals” and hopes to make a decision this week.
Are the Eagles truly interested in Elliott?
It doesn’t initially seem to make a lot of sense and on the surface it doesn't seem like a Howie Roseman type of move.
The Eagles did allow Pro Bowl running back Miles Sanders to leave via free agency – he signed a four-year deal with the Panthers – but they signed Rashaad Penny and re-signed Boston Scott and they still have Kenny Gainwell and promising Trey Sermon, a 49ers 3rd-round pick just two years ago, on the roster, as well as former Oklahoma star Kennedy Brooks.
And while Elliott is only 27, he’s piled up 1,984 carries and 2,300 touches in 103 games over seven seasons, and his production has steadily dropped under the weight of 22 touches per game throughout his career.
After averaging 1,756 scrimmage yards and 4.6 yards per carry making three Pro Bowls from 2016 through 2019, Elliott has averaged 1,191 scrimmage yards per season and 4.0 yards per carry the last three years. He averaged a career-low 3.8 this past year and also had career lows with 876 rushing yards and 95 receiving yards.
The only way the Eagles could possibly be interested in Elliott is at a very low salary and with very little risk because one of Roseman’s fundamental tenets of roster building is to never pay big money for running backs, especially older ones with a lot of wear and tear.
And nobody has more wear and tear than Elliott. His 1,881 carries are 131 more than any other back since he entered the league in 2016, and his 2,186 touches are 309 more than anybody else.
The Cowboys released Elliott on March 15 and are moving forward with Tony Pollard, who ran for 1,007 yards with a 5.2 average this year, had 1,378 scrimmage yards and made his first Pro Bowl this past season and signed his franchise tender on Thursday.
Former Cowboys have historically never worked out for the Eagles – Orlando Scandrick, Miles Austin, Herschel Walker, Chris Boniol, Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Darrin Smith, Kelvin Martin and George Hegamin, to name a few.
In his last four playoff games, Elliott has rushed 55 times for 2.4 yards per carry. His four straight postseason games with 10 or more carries and a rushing average below 3.0 yards per carry matches the longest in NFL history.
In his career, Elliott has 8,262 yards, a 4.4 average and 68 touchdowns rushing and 305 catches for 2,336 yards and 12 more TDs receiving.