Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith have both received big-money contracts from the Dallas Cowboys. However, in 2020, many have questioned if those dollars were spent in the right place.
Jerry Jones made an appearance last Friday on 105.3 The Fan after the Cowboy’s humiliating 41-16 loss to the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving. Jones defended Elliott and Smith and the resources that have been spent on both.
“Well, I like what we’ve spent and what we done even going all the way back to picking him on Jaylon Smith. That’s been a home run. He’s everything and more we thought he could be coming back from the injury when we got him in the second round. He was on the first round board. So that’s, that is absolutely a winner.”
“I’ve said this before. Zeke is, our best player. He certainly, yesterday, would, he was up against a tough situation with where we are. But still, I like both those players. I think we’re lucky to have both of those guys.”
“I wouldn’t take the resources. I would not take those resources that I’m putting there and trade not having those guys for those resources. I would not do that.”
Elliott had another productive season in 2019. He finished fourth in rushing (1,357), fourth in rushing touchdowns (12), second in all-purpose yards (1,777), and tied for first in 100-yard games (7). 2020 hasn’t been as smooth of a ride. Granted, the Cowboys offensive line has been in shambles with season-ending injuries to Tyron Smith and La’el Collins and starting multiple undrafted free agents. Also, the Cowboys have been without Dak Prescott since Week 5.
These circumstances have forced Elliott to try and do too much and it’s caused a lot of mental errors. The most noticeable has been Elliott’s fumbling issues. Although he hadn’t put the ball on the ground since Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, his fumble against Washington was his sixth of the season, tying his career-high in 2018. The Cowboys, unfortunately, have lost five of those six fumbles.
The former two-time rushing championship is still on pace to have his fourth 1,000-yard season since entering the NFL. However, it’s been clear he hasn’t been the same player we’ve grown accustomed to.
Smith came into the NFL after one of the most gruesome knee injuries anyone has ever seen when he tore his ACL and LCL in his last game at Notre Dame in January of 2016. Some thought he’d never recover, but Smith has started 49 of the 59 games he’s played in since first touching the field in 2017.
He deserves a lot of credit for overcoming those odds, however, he has been inconsistent with his play at times this season. Over pursuing, missed tackles, and giving up chunk plays in the passing game have happened more often than the Cowboys would like. Is Smith a bad player? No, but with a near $13 million dollar price tag per season, those mistakes can’t happen as often as they have.
Elliott and Smith are only 25 years old so they have plenty of football left to play in their careers and can easily turn around their struggles from this season.