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The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed Dante Fowler Jr. while adding a replacement for Ezekiel Elliott in the form of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Ronald Jones. The Cowboys decided to release Elliott last week after a seven-year run with the iconic franchise.
On Tuesday, the Cowboys agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Jones after he departed the Chiefs following their Super Bowl LVII win. Jones was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, spending four seasons in Florida before signing with the Chiefs last offseason.
Jones generated a career-high 978 yards and seven touchdowns from 192 carries in 2020 before being usurped on the depth chart by Leonard Fournette in 2021. In four seasons in Tampa, Jones – a two-time Super Bowl champion – earned 2,174 rushing yards on 488 attempts with 18 rushing touchdowns.
Last season, the 25-year-old played in just six games for the Chiefs, going for 70 yards and a score. However, he should get plenty of touches in a fragmented Dallas backfield with Tony Pollard set to be coming off a long-term injury while Elliott was released last week.
Dallas selected Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and the three-time Pro Bowler led the league in rushing yards per game for three successive seasons between 2016 and 2018. However, he endured a down season in 2022 and became the second-fiddle behind Tony Pollard in the Cowboys’ rushing attack so he is coming off career lows in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing average, although he did manage to score 12 touchdowns this past season.
In 2019, Elliott signed a six-year contract extension worth £73.5m ($90m) in 2019 – but his production has sharply declined since. According to Over the Cap, the move is expected to save the Cowboys more than £8.1m ($10m) while the franchise-tagged Pollard, who rushed for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022.
Elliott is one of the best running backs in the Cowboys’ storied history. He has racked up 8,262 rushing yards in his career, which places him third on the all-time list in rushing for the franchise behind a pair of Hall of Famers in Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.
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Jones joins Pollard, Malik Davis and Rico Dowdle in the Cowboys backfield – and the franchise are expected to add to their ranks in the draft. There are plenty of impressive running back options in the 2023 class, including Texas standout Bijan Robinson.
Dallas also decided to re-sign Fowler to a one-year deal, returning to a unit that has also welcomed back linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and safety Donovan Wilson. The 28-year-old – selected third overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars – tallied six sacks last season.
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