If the Cowboys have to pay Ezekiel Elliott his dead money anyway, why not get something out of him and re-sign him for that same amount? – Gary Gray/Great Falls, VA
Patrik: Dead money is exactly that: dead. When June 2 rolls around, the Cowboys will (and are fully prepared) to eat roughly $6 million against their 2023 salary cap. If Dallas was willing to make an offer to Elliott, a player who is statistically their third-best running back of all-time, they would've done it before sending him into free agency, but they didn't. That tells me they're ready to move on with Tony Pollard as RB1 and and using Ronald Jones as RB2 (unless they get their hands on Bijan Robinson) while letting the RB3 role flesh itself out between Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle. The door isn't closed on a potential reunion with Elliott until he signs with another team, per Jerry Jones, but the likelihood of the Cowboys going through the business of also issuing a press release to thank Elliott for his services and circling back so quickly seems unlikely. I'd also be remiss to point out that, from the aspect of the player, what the optics would be of hitting the open market only to then return to Dallas on a minimum deal (which is what would probably happen) — something his doubters would surely weaponize against him, regardless of how noble the act would be.
Nick: No, doesn't work that way. It's called "dead money" for a reason – it's not coming back. The minute they cut Zeke, it was "dead" money. Even if they had traded him, it would be the same. So whatever they signed him for, would just be on top of what they already have to account for. So it's really not worth doing.