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Bucs RB coach Skip Peete: Ezekiel Elliott has to see that he’ll play a lesser role

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons analyze how far Baker Mayfield can take the Bucs in their first year since Tom Brady retired and discuss how the QB has next to zero expectations.

Buccaneers running backs coach Skip Peete worked for the Cowboys for the last three years, so he has spent a lot of time with Ezekiel Elliott and it’s left him with some thoughts about what Elliott has to do to move forward in his NFL career.

Elliott remains unsigned after being released by the Cowboys in March and Peete said on Wednesday that he’s spoken to the veteran free agent recently about where things stand. Peete said he thinks that Elliott’s need to transition from being the lead back to being part of a deeper backfield is playing a role in why he’s still available.

“I think that’s part of the reason he’s sitting out there,” Peete said, via Kristie Ackert of the Tampa Bay Times. “If you’re going to play, I mean, you’re going to be the second and third guy. That’s kind of what the price is. So. that’s something that a person has to be able to see that that is what it is going to be.”

Peete said that Elliott is “still a good, quality running back” who was particularly effective in “short and goal-line places” during the 2022 season. The Bucs and other teams might have a spot for such a player, but it will take Elliott accepting a different role and a different paycheck in order for anything to change about his status.