Most of the trade talk regarding Ezekiel Elliott has died down quite a bit since the end of the Dallas Cowboys 2020 season, however, that doesn't mean it's been squashed completely. In fact, the Jacksonville Jaguars hiring of their new Head Coach Urban Meyer adds a little more fuel to the fire about a potential Zeke trade.
As far as trade destinations go, the Jacksonville Jaguars make quite a bit of sense on multiple levels. First, there's Ezekiel Elliott's obvious connection to his former coach at Ohio State Urban Meyer. Second, Jacksonville has the salary cap space and draft capital to easily make this trade possible.
Urban Meyer pretty much has the flexibility to do just about anything he wants with the Jaguars this offseason. Jacksonville not only leads the league in salary-cap space at a little over $74.5 million, but also have a dozen draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including two in the 1st-round, two in the 2nd, one in the 3rd, and two in the 4th. As you can see, that's quite a bit of flexibility to work with.
Now, before we go any further there's really no way of knowing if the Jacksonville Jaguars would even be interested in trading for Ezekiel Elliott or if the Dallas Cowboys would even be open to the idea. This is all completely speculation on my part, but at this point in the offseason that's about all we have to go on.
With that in mind, I did a little research to see just how plausible this fantasy trade is in actuality and the ramifications for the Dallas Cowboys if it indeed comes to fruition. So, let's pretend Jacksonville is willing to send the Cowboys their lone 3rd-round pick (65th overall) in exchange for Zeke and they accept.
That was easy, right!? Well… Let's not get ahead of ourselves because the cost of the Dallas Cowboys making this trade has ramifications which complicates matters just a bit.
If Dallas trades Zeke before June 1 they would essentially be paying $14 million for him to not be on the roster. That's not happening. That's way too big of a pill to swallow to not have somebody around, however, making this a post-June 1 trade actually makes this very doable.
A trade after June 1 would actually end up saving the Dallas Cowboys around $10 million. In this scenario Zeke would be a Jaguar, making $10 million annually, with a contract set up with escapability after 2021. This scenario actually has some validity to it.
To summarize the Cowboys would essentially be dumping Zeke for a 2021 3rd-round draft pick to save around $10 million against the salary cap as a post-June 1 trade. The Jaguars would be adding a perennial Pro Bowl caliber RB who is still just 25 years old. This could possibly be a win-win trade for both teams involved.
Again though, this is all speculation on my part based on nothing more than the mechanisms that formed this idea in my head. On paper it makes a little sense, but of course it all depends on the value both the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars place on Ezekiel Elliott. To that, we can do nothing but continue to monitor this potential trade scenario throughout the rest the offseason.