Cowboys' Jerry Jones Says Ezekiel Elliott Can Still Be Starting RB in 2024

Jerry Jones acknowledged the Cowboys' interest in a reunion with running back Ezekiel Elliott on Friday night during the 2024 NFL draft.
Jerry Jones acknowledged the Cowboys' interest in a reunion with running back Ezekiel Elliott on Friday night during the 2024 NFL draft. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acknowledged his team's interest in a reunion with free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott during a press conference on day two of the 2024 NFL draft on Friday night in Detroit.

But that's not all.

Jones said he still views Elliott, 28, as a starting-caliber halfback in the NFL, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic.

“As recent as the end of the year, I saw Zeke play and I’ll tell you, he’s good enough to be a starter," Jones said.

The Cowboys, who let 2023 leading rusher Tony Pollard walk in free agency back in March, met with Elliott and his agent Rocky Arceneaux to discuss a potential return to Dallas on Wednesday.

Elliott inked a one-year deal with the New England Patriots in August of 2023. He appeared in all 17 games (five starts) for the Patriots in 2023, tallying 642 rushing yards and three scores on the ground while adding another 313 receiving yards and two scores through the air.

The Cowboys' running back room currently features fifth-year veteran Rico Dowdle and 2023 sixth-round pick Deuce Vaughn, as well as veterans Royce Freeman and Malik Davis. Dallas did not select a running back in the draft thus far, though Jones hinted that the team could address the position with one of its four remaining selections.

First of all, the draft's not over and that's a thought," Jones said. "And it was a long time before a running back was taken in today's draft. But we also are keenly interested in seeing what the future might look like with Zeke."

Elliott rushed for 8,262 yards in seven seasons in Dallas. He ranks third on the franchise's all-time rushing list, trailing only Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.


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Tim Capurso

TIM CAPURSO

Tim Capurso is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Previously he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.