UPDATE: As suspected, the Eagles don’t seem to be super interested in Ezekiel Elliott.
I’m told as of right now the Eagles have not engaged in conversations with Ezekiel Elliott about joining the team and are happy with the running backs they have right now.— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 23, 2023
It seems the Eagles, Bengals, Jets are a wish list for Ezekiel Elliott and where he would like to play. pic.twitter.com/p6eZbZQBKA
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
Well, here’s a headline you probably didn’t expect.
After getting released as a salary cap casualty ($4.86 million cleared) by the Dallas Cowboys last week, Ezekiel Elliott has interest in staying in the NFC East ... to play for the Philadelphia Eagles.
This much was reported by NFL insider Adam Schefter, who notes that Zeke has narrowed his options down to the Birds, the New York Jets, and the Cincinnati Bengals. He also says that Elliott “would like to make his decision about where to sign by the end of next week.”
Now, Schefter’s reporting does not directly state that the Eagles have interest in signing Zeke. But would Zeke have Philly as a finalist on his list if the feeling wasn’t at least somewhat mutual?
The Eagles already added to their backfield in free agency by signing Rashaad Penny to a one-year deal worth just $600,000 guaranteed. Other running backs under contract include Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott (re-signed), Trey Sermon, and Kennedy Brooks. Penny easily offers the most upside from that group but he has no track record of being able to stay healthy. Gainwell came on in the playoffs but is likely cut out to be a role player as opposed to a full-time lead back. Scott is also a role player. Sermon and Brooks are competing to make the roster.
And so perhaps the Eagles feel the need to add another option who is able to handle a high volume of carries. Zeke has certainly proven himself capable in that regard as the NFL’s active leader in career touches with 2,186. Only 45 players in league history have logged more touches than he has to this point.
Such a big workload has clearly taken a toll, though. Elliott posted a career-worst yards per carry mark last year with just 3.8. His receiving volume and efficiency have consistently worsened every year since 2018. It’s fair to wonder what he really has left in the tank.
But maybe the Eagles feel like he’s worth signing at a low cost. One area where Elliott does still provide value is in short-yardage situations. He logged 12 rushing touchdowns last year and has 40 total in that category since 2018. Leaning on Zeke more could lessen the load on Jalen Hurts when it comes to quarterback sneaks and such. Eagles fans are certainly familiar with his ability to consistently fall forward as a power runner.
They are also familiar with how signing former Cowboys players typically hasn’t worked out for Philly. Just because it hasn’t in the past doesn’t necessarily doom future moves to the same fate. But it’s hard not to think about the last time the Eagles signed a former high-profile Dallas running back in DeMarco Murray. Gross.
Of course, Zeke would not draw the kind of big money contract that the Eagles mistakenly signed Murray to in 2015. But one must admit it’s a strange vibe.
The guess here is that the Eagles will not end up with Zeke. It’s possible they’re being included in this report as a means of Zeke’s camp trying to get the Bengals and/or Jets to sweeten their offers.
But I suppose we might see how this ends up before the end of next week. What say you?
Should the Eagles sign Ezekiel Elliott?
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