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Ezekiel Elliott returning to Cowboys as both sides agree to terms on a contract, per report

The Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott were separated for a year, but made sure the divorce didn’t last long.  Elliott is returning to the Cowboys as the two sides have agreed to terms on a contract to bring one of the greatest running backs in Cowboys history back to Dallas, per NFL Network

The deal is contingent pending a physical. 

Elliott is back with Dallas after one season with the New England Patriots, which he finished with 184 carries for 642 yards and three touchdowns — a career low 3.5 yards per carry. He split time in the Patriots backfield with Rhamondre Stevenson.

The Cowboys are bringing back Elliott to help solidify a running game that is essentially nonexistent after Tony Pollard departed in free agency.  Rico Dowdle was the projected starting running back with Deuce Vaughn and free agent signing Royce Freeman as the backups. 

Does Elliott make this group better? Just ask owner Jerry Jones, who still believes Elliott can start in the league. 

“Yes,” Jones told CBS Sports’ Garrett Podell Friday night when asked if Elliott has RB1/starter capabilities at this stage of his career. “We talked about this last night too: Is Zeke someone of interest? Yeah, he is someone of interest. I saw him play his last games with New England. I thought he played well enough to be a starter.”  

Elliott’s first stint in Dallas didn’t end the way he wanted. The Cowboys great was arguably the worst starting running back in the league in 2022, finishing last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.8), tackles avoided (32), and percentage of runs that went for 10-plus yards (7.4%). 

Regardless of how the first stint ended, Elliott is one of the best running backs in Cowboys history. Third on the all-time list in rushing yards for the Cowboys (8,262), Elliott rushed for 1,000 yards four times in seven seasons, while also reaching double digits in rushing touchdowns four times and earning three Pro Bowl appearances. 

Elliott led the NFL in rushing yards per game in three consecutive seasons (2016-2018) with the Cowboys and the league in rushing yards twice (2016, 2018). His rushing yards per game numbers have declined each season as a result of the number of touches accumulated over the course of his career, averaging a career-low 37.8 rushing yards per game in 2023. 

The Cowboys and Elliott will attempt to have a happier ending. Elliott may be the No. 1 back in Dallas as a result. 

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