The Dallas Cowboys released running back Ezekiel Elliott on Wednesday, ending a seven-season run for a two-time rushing champion who never regained the form of his dominant early years.
Elliott will be designated a post-June 1 cut, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team didn't reveal details of the decision. The move will save Dallas about $11 million under the salary cap this season.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the decision was mutual to let the 27-year-old Elliott pursue another team in free agency and give the Cowboys more financial flexibility in building a roster.
“This is one of the toughest parts of operating a team,” said Jones, who issued similarly heartfelt statements after the salary cap-related releases of defensive end DeMarcus Ware and receiver Dez Bryant in the past decade.
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“Moments like this come, and extremely difficult decisions and choices are made. For the franchise. For me personally. For players, too,” Jones said. “We will always have a special place and love for Zeke.”
While Elliott finished with 12 rushing touchdowns in a second consecutive playoff season for the Cowboys in 2022, his overall production never matched the value of a $90 million, six-year extension he signed to end a preseason-long holdout in 2019.
AP source: Bucs to bring in Mayfield
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed on an $8.5 million, one-year contract with quarterback Baker Mayfield, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because signings can’t be announced until the league year officially starts at 4 p.m. EDT.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2018, joins his third team since last July. He gets an opportunity to compete with Kyle Trask to replace Tom Brady, who retired after three seasons with the Buccaneers.
Mayfield was 1-5 as a starter last season in Carolina before he was released. He joined the Los Angeles Rams and went 1-3 in four starts.
Patriots add Smith-Schuster
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots made their first big pickup of free agency Wednesday, adding free agent wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster confirmed the move in a post on Twitter saying he was “Excited for my next chapter in New England!”
“I will give this organization everything I have, thank you for believing in me!” he wrote.
A person with knowledge of the deal said it is for three years and could be worth as much as $33 million. They spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because it hasn't been announced.
AP source: Commanders signing Brissett
Jacoby Brissett has agreed to terms with the Washington Commanders on a one-year contract worth $10 million with $8 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team had not announced the contract.
Brissett becomes the experienced veteran quarterback the team wanted to bring in to push and compete with projected starter Sam Howell. Brissett threw for 2,608 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions last season with Cleveland Browns, starting 11 games for them while Deshaun Watson served his suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
BILLS: Safety Jordan Poyer has elected to stay put by reaching a two-year agreement to re-sign with the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday after briefly testing free agency.
LIONS: The Detroit Lions took another step in shaping their roster during an active week in free agency, re-signing defensive end John Cominsky to a two-year deal.
EAGLES: The Philadelphia Eagles and six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox have agreed on a $10 million, one-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. Also, after the Eagles informed Darius Slay that he would be released, the team reversed course and the two sides are working on restructuring the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback’s contract to keep him in Philadelphia, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
MORE EAGLES: The Philadelphia Eagles and six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox have agreed on a $10 million, one-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
VIKINGS: The Minnesota Vikings have started their latest secondary revamp by agreeing to terms on a contract with former Arizona cornerback Byron Murphy, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
PANTHERS: The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday they agreed to terms with former Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders and former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst, both unrestricted free agents.