The Dallas Cowboys will have some tough decisions to make this offseason.
But, the status of running back Ezekiel Elliott will be at the top of that list.
Elliott is entering a point in his contract where the Cowboys could release him and save money on the salary cap.
If the Cowboys wanted to release Elliott post-June 1 this offseason, they will save $10.9 million in cap space.
This might be one of the toughest decisions Jerry Jones will ever have to make regarding a player.
Jones and Elliott have developed a great relationship over the years, but the smart move would be to cut the running back.
Saving nearly $11 million in cap could allow them to go after another impact player in free agency.
Or bring back one of their free agents like Tony Pollard.
There were 38 RBs who had 150 touches this season
Most yards per touch among them:
Tony Pollard 5.9
Fewest yards per touch among them:
Ezekiel Elliott 3.9 pic.twitter.com/vrYUKxT1gx
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 12, 2023
Elliott has become a fan favorite in Dallas over the years.
Plus, he has always been willing to do the dirty work for the team.
The one way he can remain with the Cowboys heading into next season is if he takes a pay cut or restructures his contract.
Elliott has transformed his game into a bruiser as he has gotten older.
He scored 12 touchdowns this year and has been elite in short-yardage situations.
But, once again, Elliott saw his yards per game decrease this year, and his yards per carry have decreased throughout the season.
#Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's yards per carry this season:
Weeks 1-12 (4.12)
Weeks 13-18 (3.29)
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 9, 2023
The massive workloads the Cowboys gave to Elliott to start his career are starting to catch up to him.
While he can still play a role on future Cowboys teams, he will need to accept a more team-friendly contract.
The front office will have its hands full this offseason and it will be interesting to see what Jerry Jones decides.