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RB Ezekiel Elliott Named Cowboys’ “Most Overpaid” Player

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.

What do you think?

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Kevin Brady

Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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  1. I get this gist of the article, but with Zeke you at least getting a return … whether you think it’s commiserate with his salary will always be debatable.

    But paying people like Olowale, Schultz, and Wilson but never playing them, is a zero return on your investment. That makes them more overpaid in my book.

  2. Elliott is overpaid horribly for many reasons. He has only played 4 seasons and he spoiled two of them by being suspended in 2017 and choosing to hold out 2 years early in 2019.
    Put that with the stats that show Elliott has regressed although only playing about 3 seasons of games out of 4 years and there is no reason to see Elliott improving. Elliott even with camp has to play his way into shape at season start so with little or no preseason, expect a very slow start for Elliott in 2020.
    Overall, Elliott is a cap disaster with 6 years to go under contract and this is likely the season Elliott becomes fully subpar after dropping to barely above average last season.

  3. Bill those three players u mentioned are eating up minimal cap space but I get ur point, especially regarding D Wilson. Garrett was risk adverse so he was not gonna roll with younger inexperienced players. Never thought Woods was that great and was more that he was a 6th round pick so they graded him based on that. I say this is the yr we give D Wilson a shot to man his natural strong safety spot (have liked him since his (Tx A&M days) and Woods is likely gone next yr anyway. So every time I wanna give ZEKE the benefit of the doubt someone comes along (siempre44) who makes me reconsider my position. Say what u will but ZEKE needs to dominate this yr siempre44 is right he has squandered 2 out of his 4 yrs In the league. It’s time for him to shut up the critics (like me).

  4. “At the end of the day, Elliott still contributes heavily to wins and losses each week.”

    Then you go on to say Elliott isn’t to blame for the lack of playoff success. It seems like you aren’t consistent here. Regardless, he took away a ton of cap resources with the insane contract. The fact that he had his most quiet season to date, in regard to PR nightmares, is just a sad reminder that the bar is set low. Tyrone Crawford can be cut with little dead money. Elliott is here for a long while taking stats away from cheaper, competent players like Pollard.

  5. The NFL don’t give Zeke no respect he lead the lead in 2 of his 4 season n would have lead the lead if he did not get that 6 game suspension. All the talk about is other RBs Zeke have to start playing around in the off season n stay in shape. I really hope Zeke come in this years n show the NFL he is still a good RB.

    • Are you serious? This comment shouldn’t even be posted! Take the time to type an opinion in a manner that makes sense. That we might understand what we are reading. The fact that no one else has even mention the unintelligible grammar & structure of Shannons comment is a testament to how far our standards have fallen….. # Zeke is overpaid, but I still love him. I mean did anyone see Zeke SMASH Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins into the turf last year?

  6. This article is terrible. He has been a top 3 running back since coming in the league. Defenses has been stacking the box almost on every play and he still manages to get his stats. Last season alone it was a pass heavy offense and he went for 1300 plus yards.

    • Daryl, defenses do not stack the box against Elliott.
      That is a myth from lazy media. Defenses always played pass defense the vast majority of plays against Dallas since Elliott was drafted.
      The real srat is Elliott runs against stacked box only 19% of his runs in 2019. That means 81% of Elliott runs , defense is not stacked box and is in neutral or pass defense.
      You can look it up for free on NFL stats: teams play neutral or pass defense against Dallas as they stack the box less than 20% of plays .

      • Great point man, but people just don’t listen. Too many people are stuck in their opinions, it just sucks that one of them is Stephen Jones. Handing out all that cash to Zeke instead of a corner or edge rusher is inexcusable. Cherry on top is that they did it with two years left on his contract.

      • Idk what website your reading those stats from, but that is completely wrong, you mite wanna try a different site and look again…. Elliot runs against stacked boxes on almost 85% of his runs!! But a person who knows the game of football don’t need to look up stats, if you knew anything about football you could see how often he runs against stacked boxes!! There’s a lot more to it than just looking up the stats!! Learn the game of football before you come on here making these ignorant comments!! Idk why your on here anyways, it looks to me like your a Cowboys hater!! I haven’t seen not one good comment from you since I’ve been on this site!! It doesn’t matter what player it is, you always have something negative to say about them!! Go find another team/players to talk negative about!!

  7. We can get the Same production from a rookie on a much cheaper contract,or veteran on a minimum contract… The offensive line is a top 2 nfl,if u cant average 5 yards a carry with this line you sure as hell dont deserve 15 million a year,

    • Too simplistic of a statement. You can be the all-time best OL but if you have Garrett calling alignments and plays, they will be marginalized.

      Zeke has never been given a lead blocker in his 4 years here. He is forced to make a quick decision w/o the benefit of having a blocker to follow. Yes, we pull guards and he runs behind those, but when you pull an offensive lineman that also means a defender is left alone. It also telegraphs the plays direction.

      I didn’t like paying him what they did, and I liked even less that Jones allowed himself to think Elliott was the key to a successful season. I happen to think Pollard has some special capabilities (ala Jamal Charles). That said, I don’t think that contract handcuffs this team to the extent that Lawrence’s does, or that Dak’s might. And I further believe Zeke deserves to be among the top-3 paid RB’s. I just don’t think it was prudent spending for the organization. But then again, what’s the difference? They would have just overpaid to keep Jones or Quinn. Zeke was their choosing and I’m not having a problem with it.

      I’m happy with the Zeke we see on Sundays. I’m not particularly enamored with the Zeke we see the other 6 days of the week.

  8. I think history has shown time and again that u don’t need an elite RB to go to the super bowl. It’s simply not a prudent use of resources. If Zeke is declining at all his contract will quickly become an albatross. Elite QBs on the other are almost a necessity to get to the playoffs and beyond. Dak may not be an elite QB but he is a very good one and the success of the Cowboys will be more dependent on his success then Zeke {in my opinion}. I find it interesting that people can pick apart Dak until all that is left is a carcass, yet if u get a little critical of Zeke people get all butt hurt. Dak has been nothing but a consummate classy professional who has given the Cowboys quality yrs beyond all expectations. No one said Zeke is not an elite RB but he is not immune from criticism either. He has a history of coming into the season in less then top shape and his off field antics have directly negatively impacted 2 of the 4 yrs he has been a Cowboy. He is a supremely talented RB but he is not beyond criticism especially with that contract.

  9. I like assessment the on Pollard, I like him a lot but I fear he will be wasted I mean who will he take touches away from? I could have totally seen him as our lead back this yr.on the cheap. Since RBs have a very very short shelf life generally peaking in yr 3 or 4 (Zeke is going into yr 5} If Zeke regresses at all he will definitely not justify that contract. That and after 4 yrs he is already on a short lease leash with Goddell. He is one misstep away from another suspension, but heaven forbid we criticize him.

    • If Zeke is suspended at all, it voids his guaranteed money. It would be the best thing possible for the team if something happens next year and they get out of that contract. Imagine signing Chris Jones or Jaylon Ramsey with that money. Or resigning several players, including Xavier Woods and Michael Gallup, whose contracts expire.

    • If Zeke is suspended at all, it voids his guaranteed money. It would be the best thing possible for the team if something happens next year and they get out of that contract. Imagine signing Chris Jones or Jaylon Ramsey with that money. Or resigning several players, including Xavier Woods and Michael Gallup, whose contracts expire.

  10. Zeke is a monster running back. We all watch football for its entertainment Value. Watching Zeke hurdle db’s & more specifically smash Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins into the turf last year was the most entertaining moment in sports over the last few seasons. Those plays make Zeke almost worth the money he’s paid. Almost…
    Shannon Gaskins your comment is rushed and unintelligible. Take the time to type your opinion in a manner that we all can understand and appreciate. Any intelligent person reading this article should take offense to anything written in such a haphazard manner. When did it become acceptable to seem ignorant?

  11. Bobby C When did it become acceptable to personally attack someone’s ability to articulate their thoughts? People like u take the fun out of all this harmless banter we all engage in. At the end of the day we are all just sharing our opinions on one of our favorite subjects (cowboys) why attack and get personal? it just makes u look small. Zeke had the benefit of great QB play from Dak (except a few games) two 1.000 yd receivers and one of the best olines in the league yet only avg 4.5 yds per carry (21st in the league). Questionable play calling notwithstanding must the highest paid RB in the league need conditions to be perfect to thrive? maybe im just fading lol

    • I think we can all agree that questionable play calling was definitely in the bag, offense of line hurt or being shuffled around didn’t help, the predictability of Jason Jones offense was out there even on I sitting at home knew what he was going to run LOL, I understand beating your man one on one whoever the best lineman is going to be is going to get that when I get that, But sometimes you just need to change it up change the scheme, that was the best thing Jerry could’ve done for himself in this organization was getting rid of RED, perhaps one year too late but better late than never, honestly if the Cowboys can work in Jamal Adams somehow I believe that’s the difference between NFC championship in the Super Bowl, with cd lamb hopefully doing what he can do in our defense of line definitely upgraded and then rash coming back to knock some heads I think that’s the year, McCarthy knows what he’s doing he’s proved it time and time again, let’s go COWS!!

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