NY Jets' Final Hope? Former Cowboys Star Remains Available as RB2 Options Dwindle

The New York Jets filled multiple holes through free agency, but the need for a backup behind starting running back Breece Hall still exists. Ezekiel Elliott may be the best option remaining on the free agent market.
Dec 24, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) carries
Dec 24, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) carries / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

There goes that idea.

The New York Jets' backup running options decreased by two this past week.

JK Dobbins, who was one of the more appealing free agents remaining, signed with the Los Angeles Chargers and journeyman Royce Freeman landed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

With the explosive Breece Hall locked into the RB1 spot, the Jets are presumably in the market for a reliable backup.

“The running back room’s not done yet either,” said Jets' fourth-year head coach Robert Saleh at the league meetings in late March.

New York, however, has yet to make a move as its voluntary nine-week offseason program kicked off this week. Last year, the Jets waited until August to add an RB2, signing Dalvin Cook in what turned out to be a failed experiment.

Israel Abanikanda, a 2023 fifth-round draft pick, currently sits second on the depth chart, but lacks seasoning and pass protection ability. The Brooklyn-born Abanikanda, who wasn't active until Week 11, rushed 22 times for 70 yards over 77 offensive snaps as a rookie.

As for the thinning free agent market, former Dallas Cowboys' Pro Bowler Ezekiel Elliott likely remains the most appetizing option available. The former No. 4 overall draft pick appeared in all 17 games for the New England Patriots last year, totaling 955 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns as a second-stringer. Prior to the one-year stint in New England, he exceeded the 1,000-yard rushing mark in four of seven seasons as a Cowboy.

Former Chargers' fourth-round selection Joshua Kelley has yet to find a new home. He scored only six touchdowns while averaging 3.6 yards per carry over the course of his rookie contract (54 games).

Latavius Murray, who recorded 419 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns for the Buffalo Bills in 2023, publicly expressed interested in continuing his playing career. The 34-year-old bruiser still offers value in short yardage situations.

Ralph Ventre


Ralph, a former college football conference administrator, brings 20 years of media experience to the New York Jets beat. Prior to concentrating on Gang Green, he covered the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision for NFL Draft Bible on FanNation. Ventre remains as an official voter for the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 and the annual legacy awards. The Fordham University graduate is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. The veteran sports media professional resides in his native state of New Jersey.