What’s Happening with Ezekiel Elliot and the Cowboys?
No Doubt Zeke is a Star Running Back…
His last season’s stats include 304 rushes, 77 catches, and 1434 yards. He’s definitely a productive member of the Cowboys, but with 1 year left on his rookie contract, Elliot is looking to leverage his talent as both a top receiving threat out of the backfield and top running back for a long-term extension with the team. He is threatening a preseason holdout to forge a deal, assumedly, similar to that of Todd Gurley, who reportedly earned himself a deal totaling $60 million.
The Cowboys picked up Elliot’s fifth-year option for 9.1 million, making him the fourth-highest paid running back in the NFL, but Elliot probably knows that every minute, his worth declines. He likely understands that if he doesn’t influence his success now, he may lose out on the insurance of a long-term contract.
Elliot most likely also assumes that the Cowboys want to win the Super Bowl this year. They aren’t building up the team. The ‘Boys have a bunch of talent ready to strike, and teams can only keep several top flight players at once for so long. If he doesn’t play this season, the team might not be as strong, and then they’re wasting another year of other allstar’s contracts’.
The Cowboys know that Elliot is an asset, and they know he has not finished his contract. If he sits on the bench this season, he will still have to play his fourth year. This will make his chances of receiving a sizable long-term deal much lower because time is money as a running back.
In the wake of other running back holdouts like Melvin Gordon, Elliot is following the trend and putting pressure on the Cowboys to resolve the situation. He is going “all in” with this gamble. The Cowboys might be able to get by without him, so if he holds out, he could be damaging his career. There is also some speculation that Elliot has not earned the trust involved in a long-term contract.
He’s allegedly been involved in multiple domestic abuse incidents which resulted in a seven- game suspension. Earlier this year, he also exposed a woman during a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He also reportedly visited a recreational marijuana dispensary before a game. There are other risky choices made my Elliot that may or may not merit more suspensions, and for a team paying the high-end salary, this behavior could lead to money down the drain, missing out on other talented professional players, and the loss of the Super Bowl.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how good the running back is. If teams want to be well rounded, multiple players can’t be paid the most in the NFL because of the wage cap.
Despite these arguments, Cowboys coach, Jason Garrett, reportedly said that he anticipates Elliot will be present at the start of preseason training. This may or may not define the result of Elliot’s contract negotiations, but time will tell soon enough.