Where Patriots stand in Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook pursuits

Report: Where Patriots stand in Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook pursuits originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Will the New England Patriots add a former Pro Bowl running back to their roster this offseason?

The Patriots reportedly have kicked the tires on both Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott, touching base with the former in late July and hosting the latter for a free-agent visit that apparently went “very well.” It seems Elliott is very much still on their radar: The Patriots remain “highly interested” in the 28-year-old former Dallas Cowboys star, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported Sunday.

New England has competition for Elliott, as Howe reports the Dallas Cowboys are “in the mix” to re-sign him, while the New York Jets are in the market for Elliott as well.

As for Cook? Howe described the Patriots’ interest in the ex-Minnesota Vikings back as “peripheral” and reported New England is “almost certainly not going in that direction.”

On paper, Cook is the more dynamic player; he rushed for 1,173 yards on 264 attempts (4.4 yards per carry) last season, while Elliott mustered 876 yards on 231 attempts (3.8 yards per carry). Cook appears to have his sights set on playing for the Jets, however, and may seek a more lucrative contract than Elliott.

Elliott would be a great complement to Patriots starter Rhamondre Stevenson thanks to his ability to run between the tackles and catch passes out of the backfield. And if Cook lands with New York, that would leave the Patriots as Elliott’s only interested suitor unless he wants to remain in Dallas to back up Tony Pollard.

New England also has hosted several other running backs for free-agent workouts, however, so it sounds like Bill Belichick has contingency plans if Elliott doesn’t pan out.

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