Could the Jets take a chance on former star RB in free agency?

New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (New York Jets and Giants target)
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are equipped at the running back position as the 2024 NFL season inches closer, but they might need another strong contributor to give quarterback Aaron Rodgers as much to work with as possible next year. A recent report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini indicates that the Jets will surely invest in a veteran running back to support starter Breece Hall.

Who could the Jets be set on among the running back pool of free agents?

When assessing the free agency landscape at this point in the offseason, one name stands out, being former New England Patriots ball carrier Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott has gotten raked over the coals for his play over the last couple of seasons, but his output suggests he could be a steady contributor for the Jets in their backfield for the upcoming campaign.

What Ezekiel Elliott brought to the table in 2023

“Zeke” Elliott started in five of his 17 games played last season. He did a lot with the 184 carries he received. The Ohio State product turned those carries into 642 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2023.

While his 3.5 yards per carry were low, Elliott could have amassed 810 yards on the ground had he seen his former career-low of 231 carries in 2022.

Elliott may not have the wowing power and burst that he did during his first four seasons in the league, but he might be the best talent available on the open market.

Do the Jets need another featured back behind Breece Hall after his breakout campaign?

Looking at the Jets, Hall was brilliant in three regular-season games last year. Twice did he eclipse 170 yards rushing, once with 177 yards in their Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos, and again with 178 yards in their Week 17 triumph over the Patriots.

He also burst onto the scene with 127 yards in Week 1. However, he’ll need to prove that his sophomore campaign, where he ran for 994 rushing yards, was not a one-off.

Having Elliott will be beneficial to the Jets, at the very least in the short term. He last earned a one-year, $3 million deal with the Patriots in August of 2023.

Should his market value depreciate below that, the Jets could use their remaining $1.125 million in cap space to make him an offer. They can also try to unload a contract to free up more room. However, Elliott could be looking for a starting gig and more money, which could lead him elsewhere.

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