This Twitter question was asked before Elliott's suspension was announced, but it holds up:
Does the Zeke suspension threat make them go long at RB and did Morris' performance save his roster spot? #Cowboysmail
— Mark Gajda (@MarkItsASoftJ) August 10, 2017
The threat is now a reality with the NFL's announcement. So what does this mean for Alfred Morris?
I had Morris on the bubble at the start of camp, completely based on Elliott's status. If Elliott was not disciplined by the league, then I didn't see Morris making the roster because he is the type of runner who does better with a higher volume of carries. He wears on defenses.
With a full dose of Elliott, Morris wasn't going to get a ton of work. He also doesn't really help on special teams and he doesn't offer much in third-down situations. That's part of the reason why Rod Smith has been ahead of Morris in camp. Smith can play on all the special-teams units if needed. He has decent hands. He is running with more confidence. If need be he can play fullback in a pinch, like he did last season.
And there would have been an economic angle to Morris' status. As a vested veteran, his $1.2 million base salary is fully guaranteed during the first week of the season.
With Elliott out until late October (unless something changes on appeal), Morris' value rises.
Morris looked good in the Hall of Fame Game, with 42 yards on seven carries against the Arizona Cardinals. And the economics make more sense. With Elliott missing 37.5 percent of the season, the Cowboys would be more justified in keeping Morris.
Darren McFadden, the NFL's fourth-leading rusher in 2015, would get the first crack as the lead back, but keeping Morris on the roster makes a lot more sense now.