Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout from the Dallas Cowboys has generated loads of buzz. Beneath his present deal, he would make slightly below $3.9 million in 2019 after which the Cowboys would absolutely decide up his possibility yr and pay him a bit over $9 million in 2020, when Elliott will likely be 26 in coaching camp.
Nobody ought to blame Elliott for holding out. The way in which the present collective bargaining settlement is about up, it’s troublesome for operating backs (due to their quick shelf life) to get a big-money second contract. By taking this stand as a 24-year-old foundational participant, Elliott goals to get the cash he deserves and nonetheless presumably have loads of robust years forward of him.
What’s Elliott as a participant? He’s nice. However let’s dig deeper.
From only a pure dashing perspective, Elliott is the most effective ball-carrier within the NFL. His manufacturing is wonderful: 101.2 dashing yards per recreation and a 4.7-yards-per-carry common. He has 28 dashing touchdowns in 40 profession video games.
Elliott has supreme steadiness and nice imaginative and prescient, a very uncommon mixture, particularly while you couple it together with his burst to assault a gap. He additionally exhibits persistence and the power to arrange his blocks properly in addition to energy and pace. As importantly as any of those traits, very like Emmitt Smith earlier than him in Dallas, Elliott desires the ball and has the physique and mindset to deal with large workloads.
Popping out of Ohio State, Elliott was thought of a superb prospect within the passing recreation. He was a sturdy and achieved cross protector and a harmful receiving possibility who introduced way more to the desk as a route runner than simply screens and dump-offs. However throughout his first two seasons within the NFL, Dallas didn’t use him within the passing recreation close to sufficient. Frankly, that was teaching malpractice.
However in 2018, the sunshine lastly went on for Dallas’ offensive coaches and Elliott caught 77 passes, 19 greater than his first two seasons mixed. In reality, over Elliott’s previous 16 video games, together with the playoff recreation in opposition to the Rams final season, he has been focused a whopping 101 occasions. That’s extra prefer it.
The passing recreation is extra essential than the run recreation in in the present day’s NFL. With Kellen Moore, a younger artistic and insightful offensive thoughts, now put in as offensive coordinator, we should always see Elliott higher schemed up in all aspects of the offense, however particularly as a receiver. Whereas his receiving manufacturing dramatically spiked final season, it must be famous that also too a lot of these receptions have been of the dump-off selection. Elliott is able to way more.
However the place are the Cowboys as a workforce proper now? They’re coming off a playoff look and seem like a contender within the NFC. Dallas’ passing recreation improved immensely after Amari Cooper joined the workforce through commerce from Oakland, and this yr they’ve again one of many NFL’s premier facilities in Travis Frederick, who sat out final season with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Outdoors of Elliott and Cooper, although, there are way more questions with the Cowboys skill-position gamers than solutions.
Rookie operating again Tony Pollard shined in his NFL preseason debut (16 yards on 4 carries) and is an attention-grabbing and dynamic participant. However Pollard isn’t a fraction of the workhorse Elliott is. He may play as a gadget man with Elliott this season, however not as a alternative.
The protection, mainly all house grown with draft picks, might be top-of-the-line within the NFL. The defensive tackles and safeties aren’t splendid, however the remainder of this unit is in its prime years and stuffed with high-end expertise.
This can be a good soccer workforce and with a number of bounces, Dallas may advance fairly far within the playoffs. However that is solely the case if they’ve Elliott, who could lead on the NFL in touches by a non-quarterback. He has immense worth and deserves to be the NFL’s highest-paid operating again. The Cowboys, who absolutely will get a deal executed with Elliott, are an aggressive group that received’t let a successful window shut on them resulting from cash. However how Dallas inevitably constructions the contract will likely be extraordinarily attention-grabbing.
As is the case in Los Angeles with the Rams with Jared Goff, the Cowboys quickly is not going to have a quarterback on his rookie deal. Getting Elliott, Cooper and Dak Prescott all locked up as a modern-day model of the Cowboys “Triplets”should be Jerry Jones’ high precedence, however that received’t be simple to tug off.
Elliott will in all probability find yourself with a couple of $60 million deal over 4 new years, with about $50 million assured. His wage cap quantity over that point could be within the $15 million-per-season vary, however keep in mind the cap continues to extend yearly. Dallas may transfer on from Elliott earlier than the final yr of his contract at little expense if he’s now not a extremely helpful participant.
Many will let you know that investing in operating backs is dangerous enterprise. However on this case, all issues thought of, locking up Elliott is the appropriate transfer for Dallas.