EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith won’t be in uniform when the Cowboys wrap up their regular season on Sunday.
The Cowboys announced their seven game day inactives prior to kickoff against the New York Giants, and the Pro Bowl trio are among those who won’t suit up.
With nothing to gain by winning this game, the decision makes sense. The Cowboys are already set to host a playoff game a week from now, and the opportunity to rest key players was too big to pass up.
The full list of inactives features Mikes White, Elliott , Chris Covington, Zack Martin, Smith, David Irving and Tyrone Crawford.
Strictly speaking, Elliott, Martin and Smith are healthy enough to play — although the decision to rest them shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Martin has been dealing with a knee injury for most of this season, and it was bad enough to sideline him in the Dec. 16 loss to Indianapolis. Elliott has been dealing with various bumps and bruises, and the decision to rest him makes sense with a wildcard game looming next weekend. Smith has been on and off the injury report this season, and he suffered a stinger back in November.
Again, if the Cowboys stood to gain something by winning this game, it’s likely that all three would be able to play. But that isn’t the case, so the extra time to rest for the playoffs could be a big boost.
The decision to sit Elliott shouldn’t affect his chance to win his second NFL rushing title, though. Elliott currently sits at 1,434 rushing yards for the season. His nearest competitor, Todd Gurley, has already been ruled out of the Rams’ game against San Francisco. New York’s Saquon Barkley sits in third, but he would need 237 yards against the Cowboys today to surpass Elliott’s total.
The rest of the Cowboys’ inactives are fairly straightforward. White and Covington have been mainstays on the inactive list this season. Crawford and Irving were ruled out of this game on Friday. Crawford is still recovering from the neck injury he suffered in last week’s win against Tampa Bay, while Irving has been missing since October with a high ankle sprain.