The Dallas Cowboys released running back Ezekiel Elliott on Wednesday, ending a seven-season union with the player who never regained the form of his dominant early years.

Elliott will be slated for release after June 1, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the team did not reveal details of the decision. The move will save the Cowboys an estimated $11 million below the salary cap this season.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the decision was mutual. It lets the 27-year-old Elliott pursue his career with another team as a free agent and gives the Cowboys more financial flexibility to assemble his roster.

“It’s one of the hardest parts of running a team,” said Jones, who issued similarly candid statements following the salary cap-related departures of DeMarcus Ware and Dez Bryant during the last decade.

“Moments like this happen, and extremely difficult decisions and choices are made. For the team. For me personally. For the players too, added Jones. We will always have a special place and love for “Zeke”. »

While Elliott finished 2022 with 12 rushing touchdowns in a second straight season in which the Cowboys reached the playoffs, his overall production has never matched the value of a US90 million overtime overtime. six years he signed to end a strike during the preseason in 2019.

As Elliott’s production plummeted, 2019 fourth-round pick Tony Pollard emerged as quarterback Dak Prescott’s top option.

Elliott has rushed for 8,262 career yards, ranking him third-best in team history behind NFL-best Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. Elliott also ends his time with the Cowboys third behind Smith and Dorsett with 68 career rushing touchdowns.