Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard formed to create one of the NFL's best two-headed rushing attacks this season.
Despite Zeke being named the starter in all but one game that he played, everyone watching the Cowboys knew that Pollard was the premier back. He was arguably the best playmaker on the offense.
Pollard's speed, agility, and explosiveness saw him in the endzone more times this season than in his previous three years combined.
And as a result of his emergence, Ezekiel Elliott was demoted to the bruiser back. Being called upon in short down and distance situations to do the dirty work.
As a result, Zeke was at the lowest statistical point in his career.
For the first time, Elliott failed to surpass 1,000 total scrimmage yards. He also had a career-low of 3.8 yards per carry. His total number of receptions and receiving yards were also career worsts.
This is only the latest downward trend of Ezekiel Elliott since he became the highest-paid running back before the 2019 season.
Since signing his 6-year $90 Million extension, Zeke has failed to improve on his career highs from 2016 and 2018.
He is set to make $10.9 Million next year with a cap hit of over $16 Million. It would make him the second-largest cap hit for a running back. I don't think there is anyone out there arguing that Zeke is worthy of those numbers.
The Cowboys could limit their cap hit by releasing Zeke with a post-June 1st designation.
Reports suggest that Elliott would be open to a pay cut to remain in Dallas next season. However, the pay cut would have to be substantial enough to give the Cowboys more cap space than they would if they released him.
This would take Zeke's 2023 salary down to $6 Million. But the Cowboys might feel the need to cut ties with Zeke regardless.
When Tony Pollard went down with an injury in the 49ers playoff game, it felt like Zeke was given a final opportunity to prove his worth.
However, he now lacks the explosiveness and burst needed to make plays. He carried the ball 10 times for only 26 yards in an underwhelming display. It was an evident display of the unfortunate decline of running backs who play the game as he does go through.
It may be time for Ezekiel Elliott to be sent to pasture.
The Dallas Cowboys are going through a period of a mass coaching change. Kellen Moore and running backs coach Skip Peete have both been let go by the Cowboys.
Zeke and Peete were very close and had a strong relationship. So Peete's departure only adds to the possibility of Elliotts' impending release.
In the middle of the season, Jerry Jones claimed “we go as Zeke goes” after Pollard had 14 carries for 131 yards against the Bears in October.
But the reality is this team no longer goes through Ezekiel Elliott.
In what could potentially be his last play for the Dallas Cowboys, Zeke lined up at center in the goofiest-looking play of the year. He snapped the ball to Dak Prescott before getting blown up by 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair…
A complete injustice to his seven-year service with the Dallas Cowboys.