CONFIRMED: New England Patriots are bringing him back

Zeke Peek: Patriots Targeting Elliott Return?

Despite some high-profile rushing contracts emerging, New England Patriots fans expecting Ezekiel Elliott back probably shouldn’t get their hopes up.

The New England Patriots have taken a somewhat surprising approach to the early stages of the NFL’s active free agent signing period, retaining several familiar faces from last year’s four-win group (i.e. Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Reagor, Josh Uche).

But despite the reunions, Christopher Price of the Boston Globe had a dire update for anyone expecting the Patriots to welcome running back Ezekiel Elliott back to the fold.

“Per a league source, the Patriots have not had conversations with running back Zeke Elliott about bringing him back for 2024,” Price said. “That could change in the future–the free agent landscape can change very quickly. But right now, that’s where the two sides stand.”

Seeing Elliott linger on the free agent market is perhaps somewhat surprising considering what’s transpired among the rest of his position group: though modern times have called the running back’s purpose and value into question, several of Elliott’s compatriots (i.e. Saquon Barkley in Philadelphia, Josh Jacobs in Green Bay) have landed expensive long-term deals. For the time being, however, it appears that Elliott will have to be patient.

Elliott, his time having run out in Dallas, was brought in during the final stages of last year’s offseason, originally envisioned as a spell option for Rhamondre Stevenson. Once Stevenson got hurt, however, Elliott was forced to take on a larger role in New England’s sputtering offense.

Inconsistency and frequent turnover on the offensive line created new career-lows for Elliott, who mustered only 642 yards and 3.5 a carry. Elliott did manage to somewhat keep up his reputation as a scorer, visiting the end zone three times over the final five games (which saw him muster 159 yards on 27 receptions).

The Patriots’ rushing room got a bit more crowded this week, as Elliott’s spell slot was apparently filled by former Washington Commander Antonio Gibson. Stevenson is expected to return, while Kevin Harris, JaMycal Hasty, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn are also packed onto the depth chart.

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