After a year with the New England Patriots, running back Ezekiel Elliott is reuniting with the Dallas Cowboys, the team that drafted him and saw the first seven seasons of his career. Elliot reportedly signed a one-year $3 million deal with his old squad, which is currently pending and contingent on a physical.

Dallas leaned into Tony Pollard as their starter, which saw Elliott leave for New England in 2023, but now, with Pollard on the Titans, it leaves an open spot for the return of one of the most prolific rushers in Cowboys franchise history. Elliott had a career-low 642 yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2023, but in his seven years in Dallas, he became their third all-time leading rusher with 8,262 yards and 68 rushing touchdowns. He ran for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns in four seasons and made the Pro Bowl in three. His 15 rushing touchdowns in his rookie season are also tied for the second most in NFL history, only behind Eric Dickerson‘s 18 touchdowns in 1983.

Dallas has Rico Dowdle and Duece Vaughn in its running back room, but after losing Pollard, it was almost necessary for them to find one in free agency or the draft. They didn’t pick up anyone in the draft, but landing Elliott on a much lower deal than in the past will be a major help in building up the rest of the team. Though his first stint with the team may not have ended the way Elliott wanted, he returns to the Cowboys as their cemented starting running back.

“We talked about this last night too,” Dallas owner Jerry Jones said Friday night. “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.”

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Elliott led the league in rushing from 2016-2018, but his numbers slowly dropped once Pollard joined the team. Despite his success, the team went with Pollard, and in his sole season as the Cowboys’ designated starter, he ran for 1,000 yards but scored only six touchdowns in 252 rushing attempts. Dallas finished with the 14th-best rushing offense in the league, but that number remained much higher with Elliott leading the attack.

The Cowboys made the playoffs four times with Elliott but could not make it out of the divisional round last year. They finished 2023 atop the NFC East with a 12-5 record but lost to Green Bay in the Wild Card Round, with Pollard only finishing with 56 rushing yards.

Now, going into 2024, reunited with their old running back and with quarterback Dak Prescott under contract until 2028, Dallas hopes to compete again for their first Super Bowl in almost 30 years.

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