Mike ReissESPN staff writer3 minute reading
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Free-agent running back Ezekiel Elliott is scheduled to visit the New England Patriots on Saturday, a source confirms to ESPN.
The 27-year-old Elliott, released by the Dallas Cowboys on March 15 in a salary-cap move, had a career-low 876 rushing yards in 2022, but he scored 12 touchdowns and remained a top short-yard back and pass protector.
It’s a potential role the Patriots, who are preparing to practice in full pads early next week with a heavy emphasis on the run game, could look to fill.
This is Elliott’s first free-agent visit since being released by the Cowboys. His visit to the Patriots was first reported by Jordan Schultz.
Third-year pro Rhamondre Stevenson is the Patriots’ top running back, but the depth behind him was thin heading into training camp. The team had released James Robinson in June and never filled his spot on the depth chart. Then, on the second day of training camp, veteran Ty Montgomery left practice with an undisclosed left leg/knee injury.
That has left second-year running backs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, and third-year player JJ Taylor as the lone players behind Stevenson.
Last week, the Patriots hosted free agents Leonard Fournette and Darrell Henderson.
The Patriots have also been linked to free agent Dalvin Cook, who is scheduled to visit the New York Jets in the coming days.
“Dalvin is another player, this is a really, really unique situation — you don’t typically have players of this caliber available at this point,” director of player personnel Matt Groh said Wednesday. “We saw firsthand last year going up to Minnesota on Thanksgiving what he can do.”
Stevenson, who led the Patriots last season with 1,040 rushing yards on 210 carries, said Friday he is open to the team bringing in help.
“I’m pretty sure about our room right now, but if we get another one, I’m on it too,” he said.
Elliott, who turned 28 last week, has been slowed by injuries over the past two seasons and has topped 1,000 rushing yards just once (2021) in the past three. He finished his career with the Cowboys with 1,881 carries for 8,262 yards and 68 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 305 passes for 1,336 yards and 12 touchdowns.