The Dallas Cowboys have just made a roster move that adds doubt to the belief that running back Ezekiel Elliott will be back with the team in time for next week's season-opening battle against the New York Giants. Monday morning, the team promoted running back Jordan Chunn to the 53-man roster, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. To replace him on the 10-man practice squad, the team signed wide receiver Ventell Bryant.
This move came on the heels of news that the contract talks had stalled. The team had originally hoped to have Zeke's contract extension finished by Sunday so that he could rejoin the team for Monday's practice, but discussions hit a snag. Now, it's seeming less likely that he will be active for the first game of the season. In Elliott's stead, rookie Tony Pollard will lead the rushing attack while veteran Alfred Morris and Chunn assist serve as rotational options. Fullback Jamize Olawale is listed as the fourth running back on the roster.
According to Mike Leslie of WFAA, one source close to Elliott expects that a deal will get done soon, but the team's front office maintains that no progress has been made since the talks over the weekend. The two sides talked a bit on Monday, but there is still a lack of progress toward the new deal.
Even without Zeke in the building for the game against the Giants, there is considerable faith in the other options in this rushing attack. Pollard impressed many during the preseason with 15 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games. Morris, on the other hand, only had eight carries during his brief appearances and rushed for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Finally, Chunn registered 16 carries for 49 yards in four preseason games. He also added 46 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. While he didn't generate as many headlines as Pollard during the preseason, the newest member of the 53-man roster still proved that he can move the ball when called upon.
Of course, the only question remains is "how often will Chunn be used?" If Elliott isn't under contract within the next 24 hours, he likely won't be on the field in Week 1. Pollard would obviously see the majority of the snaps, but Chunn could figure into the gameplan, provided he is on the active gameday roster.
For now, Chunn will simply enjoy the moment of being on the active roster while the Cowboys fans continue in a holding pattern of waiting for Elliott news to break.