When your roster is as loaded as the Dallas Cowboys' is, you're not holding onto all your top players every year. There's just not enough room under the salary cap to do it. That means every offseason, Cowboys fans have to watch players walk who we'd rather see stick around in Dallas.
Of course, not everyone leaves on good terms. There are even some players that fans celebrate the departure of.
This wide range of emotions about departing players continues when we see them in new uniforms. Some fans want to see former Cowboys crash and burn while others want to see their former favorite players keep thriving.
Whatever your thoughts on them, let's check in on some former Cowboys who debuted with their new teams in Week 1.
Former Cowboys Watch: Week 1
1. Ezekiel Elliott
It didn't feel quite as weird as seeing Emmitt Smith as an Arizona Cardinal, but seeing Ezekiel Elliott as a New England Patriot was pretty jarring — especially since he went back to that rookie year short-hair look we haven't seen in so long.
The new threads and new ‘do didn’t do much to get Zeke going, though. He only managed 29 rushing yards on 7 carries, looking thoroughly average as a rusher.
Admittedly, you can’t fault him too much when he was missing both the starting offensive guards in front of him and was running at an Eagles defensive line that even Cowboys fans need to admit is pretty good.
Also noteworthy is that New England really tried to get Zeke going as a receiver, targeting him 7 times. He caught 5 of those 7 targets, but gained just 14 yards. That gave him a grand total of 43 yards on 12 touches. His previous career-worst average for yards per touch was 3.9 in 2022, and he kicked off 2023 by falling below that at 3.6.
Making things worse, Zeke also fumbled. That’s not a problem he’s had too often over his career, especially in recent years, but it’s something that Bill Belichick is famously impatient about.
Elliott probably isn’t risking being benched yet, but he certainly didn’t do anything to make a case for getting more playing time this week.