According to ESPN's NFL Insider, Adam Schefter, former Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has narrowed the list of teams he'd be interested in signing with. Per the report, Elliott would like to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, the New York Jets, or the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to Schefter's sources, Elliott wants to make his decision on where he'll play this fall by next week. What Schefter's report doesn't say is whether any of those three teams are interested in Elliott.
Per John Clark, the NBC-TV Sports Anchor in Philadelphia, the Eagles have not spoken with Elliott and are happy with the backs they have. While the Jets haven't said anything officially, the news was met with a lack of enthusiasm from their current backs.
Nothing much has come out of the Bengals camp regarding Schefter's report. So for now it looks more like a wish list as opposed to three teams vying for Elliott's services next season, at least for now. But if these were the three suitors, which would be the best fit for Elliott?
Back Home to Ohio
Frankly, the Bengals are the most logical landing spot for the former Ohio State standout. He might feel the best place to restart his career would be back home. If Elliott is inclined to give Cincinnati a hometown discount it might be enough to land a contract.
He would replace the recently-departed Samaje Perine in Cincinnati and team up with Joe Mixon. At most, he would likely serve as a third-down back or to give Mixon a series or two off.
These would be the positives for the Bengals in signing him. For Elliott it would put him on a team that should be contending for the AFC Championship again in 2023.
But the question remains: Are the Bengals even looking in Elliott's direction right now?
The Aaron Rodgers Effect
Ever since Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced that he intended to play for the Jets in 2023, every free agent's name has been connected to New York. So it is probably of little surprise that Elliott's wish list included the Jets.
But do they need him? As was apparent in the link above, the Jets' current running back group doesn't think so. If the Jets do land Rodgers in a trade they probably aren't looking to add a running back.
With Rodgers, the Jets are likely to become a pass-on-every-down team. Which means they don't need to spend any more money on running backs than they already are.
Add to the mix that Rodgers gave the Jets his own wish list. This listed players he wanted the Jets to sign and none of the names on it played running back.
It's highly unlikely Elliott will play in a green and white uniform next year.
Why Eagles, Why?
Which leaves the Eagles who, according to the report above, haven't even reached out to Elliott. Playing for the Eagles makes sense, for Elliott. It gives him two chances per season to show his former team they made a mistake.
Revenge is often a very good motivator for a former player. But what about the benefits for Philadelphia? There don't seem to be too many.
The Eagles just signed Rashaad Penny from the Seattle Seahawks, after letting Miles Sanders go to Carolina in free agency. They also have Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell in the backfield already. With other areas of need to address, adding Elliott seems a waste of resources.
Plus there's Philadelphia's history of signing former Cowboys — see Murray, DeMarco for one example. The Eagles might not want to repeat that history again.
Where does Elliott play?
Right now the smart money is on the Bengals. They have a need for a back like Elliott and it's a place he clearly wants to go to. Unless the Chargers move Austin Eckler and Kellen Moore mentions this running back he knows that's looking for a job…