Ezekiel Elliott's tenure with the Dallas Cowboys came to an end when the team decided to release the star running back in the first week of free agency. Elliott's performances were not up to his huge salary, and the team cleared a good amount of their salary cap due to his cut.
However, not everyone was happy to see Elliott being released. Legendary Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was unimpressed with the decision. He said that every player should go after money before anything, because the league is nothing more than a business.
"This is why, the NFL stands for not the law. Everybody else go get your money because they have no love for you."
The Cowboys decided to part ways with the franchise's running back after seven seasons. Dallas saved more than $10 million due to the post-June 1 designation used in his release, meaning that some of his cap hit will be transferred to the 2024 cap.
Why did the Cowboys release Ezekiel Elliott?
There was no way to keep Ezekiel Elliott after such a hasty production decline. Another important factor is that the Cowboys gave the franchise tag to running back Tony Pollard. This meant that he's due to receive $10 million in the 2023 season while the parties negotiate a long-term contract.
Jerry Jones, the owner of the franchise, thanked the running back for his services during the seven years, although his decline was clear in the previous seasons:
"Zeke's impact and influence is seared into the Cowboys franchise in a very special and indelible way. 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, and anyone that has ever played a team sport would be lucky to have a teammate like Zeke and be much better for it."
In 2022, Zeke averaged 3.8 yards-per-carry, just a fraction of the excellent 5.1 yards-per-carry he had during his rookie year in 2016. The life of a running back is short in the NFL, and while he should find a new team soon, he isn't worth the money anymore.