This is the most dead of any dead period in NFL history.
But, like myself, football content creators have to find ways to fill air time. Or fill internet space.
So we take to debates of all kinds. Who are the top 5 quarterbacks? Who is the best player on your team? Who’s the most important player on the team? And, of course, who is the most overpaid player on each team?
Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon looked to answer that last question with his article this week, and outlined why he chose running back Ezekiel Elliott to wear this dubious crown for the Cowboys.
“He’s averaged a phenomenal 96.5 rushing yards per game in four NFL seasons, but that number dropped to 84.8 last year. Besides, despite all of his success, the Cowboys have won just one playoff game in the Elliott era.”
Let’s start with the reasons why Zeke is a logical choice here. For one, he’s a running back, and new wisdom would tell you that any running back who is making more than minimum hourly wage is overpaid. The Cowboys did spend a hefty amount to keep Elliott around last offseason, and did so two years earlier than his rookie deal would dictate.
Yeah, not good.
On the field Elliott had arguably his most quiet full season to date in 2019, while still rushing for 1,300 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns, by the way.
Part of this was due to the offense’s philosophy switching a bit, as Kellen Moore infused more passing into the play calling than Scott Linehan had before him. But another part was due to Elliott’s own holdout, which clearly slowed him down at the start of the season.
Whether or not Ezekiel Elliott is overpaid really doesn’t matter, though. The fact is that he’s got his contract and he’s going to be a Dallas Cowboy for the foreseeable future. The question then is, how well can he perform to make up for that big cap number?
At the end of the day, Elliott still contributes heavily to wins and losses each week. Someone like defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford, who while underrated missed most of last season due to injury and has never really lived up to his hefty contract, has not.
I know that rushing yards are counting stats, and I know that a consistent and explosive passing offense is what really will win you games in this league. But using the team’s lack of playoff success in the “Ezekiel Elliott era” as a reason to detract from his ability is strange.
Elliott can certainly improve upon his 2019 outputs, but I actually think we will see a rejuvenated Zeke come this Fall. One that will not have fans screaming about annual contract value while the team is winning games. Even if his counting stats take a hit in this loaded passing offense.