Ezekiel Elliott has his eye on the Jets.
Recently cut by the Cowboys, Elliott has narrowed his list of ambitions to the Jets, Bengals and Eagles, according to an ESPN report.
The two-time NFL rushing leader had to count $16.9 million against the salary cap, including $10.9 million in non-guaranteed salary, before being released.
But the current state of the runner market means he’ll have to settle for much less.
The Jets are looking for a veteran power forward to third-down pass catcher Breece Hall and speedster Ty Johnson to complement what he re-signed to a one-year deal on Thursday afternoon.
Hall is coming off a season-ending torn ACL, but figures to be ready to go in time for practice.
See how Elliott — whose last game with the Cowboys involved snapping the ball on a trick play in the 49ers’ playoff loss — could boost the Jets’ biggest need by playing center.
Ezekiel Elliott was released by the Cowboys in March 2023.Getty Images
In reality, though, Elliott — who turns 28 in July — averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per carry and had 17 passes in 15 games (14 starts) last season when 1,000-yard rusher Tony Pollard went out.
The Cowboys chose to franchise tag Pollard and move on from Elliott.
The Giants’ Saquon Barkley and the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs were also tagged, and those three-year, $10.1 million deals seem unexpectedly palatable compared to how the free-agent running back went down.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) tackles Lions safety DeShon Elliott during a game in October 2022.AP
If Elliott is chasing a Super Bowl ring, the Bengals and Eagles are the top contenders.
The Jets entering that group is part of the “Aaron Rodgers Effect,” Odell Beckham Jr. that could also attract a veteran wide receiver, and will bring together some of the biggest stars on the 2016 NFC Pro Bowl roster.
Of course, Elliott’s problem will be his salary demand.
Does he want to be paid like the star he was, or like the expected backup back?
The Panthers’ Miles Sanders (four years, $25 million) received a free agent contract for a running back, creating a need for the Eagles.
Saints’ Jamaal Williams (three years, $12 million) received even fewer after leading the Lions with 18 rushing touchdowns last season.