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Are The Cowboys Experiencing Buyers Remorse With Ezekiel Elliott?

Currently, the Cowboys are in a bad spot with the salary cap. How much of that is due to Elliott?

Way back in 2019, the broke the cardinal sin of team building. They signed a to a long-term extension. With a six-year deal worth 90 million dollars, Ezekiel Elliott was slated to be in Dallas until 2027 which would be his age 32 season.

This extension was not without merit, however. With 4,048 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns from 2016 to 2018, he quickly became one of the league’s marquee ball carriers. He was even selected as a First-Team All-Pro in his season. As such, the felt inevitable. After all, they selected him with the fourth overall pick and he had done nothing but produce since then. Owner even called him “the team’s best player”.

Therein lies a major problem with running back extensions as a whole. While they often don’t work out (David Johnson, , Le’Veon Bell, Doug Martin, etc.), they are often about messaging. Is Elliott worth the 18.2 million dollars he cost the Cowboys last season? No, he is not and no running back is. However, what kind of message would it send the locker room if they just didn’t sign the face of the team in the middle of his prime? It simply had to be done, regardless of the practicality of it.

Dealing with the consequences

The Cowboys have already felt the effects of this deal. The second-largest deal of any running back in the league, he counts for 7.79% of the Dallas . His 18,220,000 cap hit last season was the largest at the position by over three million dollars. This deal has caused the Cowboys to lose key players in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

is one of these players. A former first-round selection, he was lured away to Miami with a 5 year, $82,500,000 contract. Dallas never had a chance at retaining one of their best defensive players, largely due to the massive contract handed to “Zeke”. In 2022, Dallas appears destined to lose , . After a break-out season in 2021, one of ’s favorite targets will be playing elsewhere after an 808-yard, eight-touchdown season. With their cap space currently in the negatives, they just don’t have the resources to pull these deals off.

Of course, Elliott isn’t the only large contract on the team. In fact, he has the fourth-highest average salary on the team. The reason his contract sticks out, however, is the replaceability of his position. The Cowboys themselves have proven it with the addition of . While Elliott finished with more yards and touchdowns than Pollard, he did so on 137 more touches. Pollard however did finish with more yards per attempt and flashed more ability as a receiver.

As approaches in the NFL, the Cowboys will have moves to make in order to just get under the cap. With one of the league’s worst cap situations, the staggering number being paid to their starting running back will hinder their ability to continue to add talent.

What do you think?

Jason Willis

Written by Jason Willis

Just a guy who loves sports. Writing for The Raider Ramble, Inside The Star, Just Blog Baby, and NFL Draft Lounge. Host of the Can O Corn Baseball Podcast. "My satisfaction is knowing that my desires will not be killed."

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7 Comments

  1. Well AT LEAST when they gave him that contract. HE WAS THE BEST RB IN THE NFL. NOT DEBATABLE, IMO. But obviously the LENGTH of EE’s contract was too long. Seemed like they panicked, just like they did with DP’s contract, which MAY be one of the worst in NFL history, SO FAR. A lot of damage has been done with these foolish long-term contracts. Jones needs to grow some stones and stop caving into these players that DO NOT PRODUCE.

    BTW, time to draft a RB. TP is on his last year.

  2. I have had injuries before such as a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and I still have issues with it. These guys put their bodies and brains on the line every time they strap it up before and after surgery. Clearly they are stronger men than I. Who am I or anyone else to tell them how much they are worth.

  3. They had to resign him. But the amount and guarantee’s are just dumb. Good for Zeke and his agent. Yet again we see Steven Jones give out a huge contact and then turn around and blame the salary cap for not keeping good players or signing other teams players. Zeke was very productive before he tore his PCL this year and then the Jones insisted on him playing through it because they need to get their money’s worth out of him. He was clearly dragging that leg around when Pollard was better and healthier at that point. Same deal with LC at right tackle when Steele was clearly playing better. Zeke does not miss games no matter what injury is ailing him He totes that rock no matter how piss poor the O-line is blocking or how bad the play calls are. I’m not sure Pollard can hold up to the 20 carries a game that is required and we all know he’s an ineffective run or pass blocker. We may want to rethink Zelle’s value.

  4. Is this a rhetorical question? Of course we have buyers remorse, as do 90% of teams that sign a RB to a 2nd contract. No rule that says we had to resign him and it was beyond stupid to sign him two years early. RBs burn out earlier then any other position. Get ur 4-5 years out of them and then get another one.

    There is a reason why RBs aren’t drafted high anymore. Most smart GMs have figured all this out, but we have Jerry.

  5. Absolutely yes. It is not that he is unproductive. He is a decent back, ok receiver and a great blocker. He just isn’t elite anymore and not playing up to his contract. The same goes for Dak. Both of these players are occupying a huge chunk of the cap space and are not capable of carrying their team alone. The ‘Boys are not going to be able to hold onto other needed players or sign free agents they need because of this. They had their window to do something with the current group and it has just slammed shut. It will be a few years before they can dig themselves out from under these two horrible contracts. Personally I am for contract caps for individual players and no guaranteed money. You have to earn it every year!

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