The Dallas Cowboys enter the offseason with a host of roster questions. Most prominent among those is how the club will handle Ezekiel Elliott's contract.
Speaking Wednesday from the Senior Bowl, both Jerry and Stephen Jones told reporters they want Elliott to return in 2023, but it must make financial sense for both sides.
Elliott signed a six-year, $90 million extension in Dallas in 2019. The deal has hamstrung the Cowboys' salary cap ever since. 2023 marks the first season the Joneses could realistically move on from the former Pro Bowl running back. Zeke is set to earn $10.9 million in base salary with a $16.72 million cap hit next season. Dallas would save $11.86 million by cutting the running back with $4.86 million in dead money, per Over The Cap.
Elliott is coming off the worst statistical season of his career, rushing for just 876 yards on 231 carries, with a long run of 27 yards, all career lows. He did prove valuable near the goal line, punching in 12 TDs.
Elliott said after the season, he wants to remain in Dallas. A contract restructuring could be in the works if both sides remain willing to work together.
With Tony Pollard headed to free agency, the Cowboys' backfield could look drastically different in 2023 if Elliott moves on.
The offense could also look altered after Dallas parted ways with former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who subsequently signed on with the Los Angeles Chargers. Jerry Jones confirmed coach Mike McCarthy would take over play-calling next season.
McCarthy called plays as OC in New Orleans (2000-2004) and San Francisco (2005) and also did so most of his run in Green Bay. Jones noted he expects the offense to look similar to the one McCarthy ran with the Packers "with added nuances of the times, but more importantly the personnel."
"This is the logical step to build on and use what we've established, if you will, the foundation of what the ones we've got," Jones said of McCarthy calling plays. "This is the time for us to build on it. And that's what this is, a building step."
Dallas still plans to hire an offensive coordinator and is interviewing candidates, with Panthers running backs coach/assistant head coach Jeff Nixon and Rams tight ends coach/assistant head coach Thomas Brown candidates for the job.