Ezekiel Elliott Bolsters Patriots’ Backfield with 1-Year Deal

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Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has made a surprising move, as he joins the New England Patriots on a one-year deal. This unexpected signing marks a significant shift in the NFL landscape, bringing together a powerhouse player and a storied franchise known for its strategic prowess.

Free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott posted on social media Monday that he is signing with the New England Patriots.

Elliott tweeted, “One Five, all the way live ! @Patriots,” referencing his plans to wear jersey No. 15, the number he wore in college while playing for Ohio State. He wore No. 21 with the Cowboys.

Ezekiel Elliott has reached an agreement with the New England Patriots on a one-year contract, addressing a position of need on the roster, according to a confirmed source. The deal includes a $3 million base salary and a $1 million signing bonus, potentially reaching up to $6 million with performance-based incentives.

After spending seven years with the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott is now positioned as a valuable complement to primary option Rhamondre Stevenson. Under Coach Bill Belichick’s guidance, the Patriots typically divide early down responsibilities between two running backs. Belichick even consulted with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones for insights on Elliott’s abilities before hosting him for a visit on July 29.

Elliott’s initial visit following his release led to an agreement with the Patriots. He engaged in discussions with team officials and shared a meal with quarterback Mac Jones.

Despite a career-low 876 rushing yards in 2022, Elliott remains a strong asset in short-yardage situations and pass protection. His 12 touchdowns showcased his scoring ability. However, he averaged 3.9 yards per touch last season, ranking as the lowest among 51 running backs with at least 100 touches.

The Patriots are scheduled to face the Cowboys on October 21 during Week 4 of the upcoming season.

During training camp, the Patriots faced a running back depth issue. Rhamondre Stevenson was supported by second-year players Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris. Strong, a 2022 fourth-round pick, missed practice recently for undisclosed reasons, while Ty Montgomery was sidelined due to a leg/knee injury. Additional depth comes from third-year player J.J. Taylor and former USFL rusher C.J. Marable.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets running back James Robinson had been signed in March but was later released in June.

 

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