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Will Ezekiel Elliott Ever Receive a Long-Term Extension?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Sean's Scout: Impact Of Ezekiel Elliott's Return On Cowboys Offense

While Zack Martin walks around The Star in Frisco being the highest-paid guard in NFL history, other Dallas Cowboys might be day-dreaming about when their time for a similar long-term contract arrives. Cowboys Nation is already thinking about it at least. Dak Prescott, DeMarcus Lawrence and maybe even Ezekiel Elliott might see an extension soon enough, if they're able to put up a big-time performance in 2018.

Having said that, Zeke might never see a big Pay Day like Zack Martin did earlier this week.

Don't get me wrong, Ezekiel Elliott is one of the top running backs in the league and has been flat out dominant since entering the league in 2016. There isn't a single doubt about his abilities and about what his role on the team is.

But Elliott has received quite the workload during his first two seasons in the league and the Cowboys might not change that anytime soon. At the end of the day, Zeke and the running game have become this team's identity.

Through 25 starts, the super star running back has had 622 touches, averaging 25 touches per game. Le'Veon Bell, who's also one of the finest players at the position, averaged 23 touches per game during his first two seasons. Gurley averaged 20.

While I understand Cowboys Nation's desire to see Zeke involved in the passing game, taking a look at how they use Elliott makes you realize it's more than comprehensible that they don't use him as much as a pass-catcher.

The running back position is a tough one. Players are worn out and their careers tend to be shorter than the rest. This brings us to an inevitable question.

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

What will Ezekiel Elliott's future look like in Dallas?

The most likely scenario is that his fifth-year option is eventually picked up so he can play through 2020 at the very least. But what about the year after that? Will the Cowboys hand him a long-term extension? It would have to be an expensive one.

By that time, Elliott will still be a young player. But how young will the then 26-year old running back will look like on the field if he keeps getting 25 touches per game?

When the time for an extension arrives, the Cowboys' front office might go the way the Steelers' have gone with Le'Veon Bell, handing him the franchise tag once or twice in order to keep him wearing the Star while not committing to the guy they know they have worn down over the years.

Of course, there's an alternate scenario. Maybe Elliott turns out to be a freak that can carry the ball 300 times every season and keep playing at the same level that he is right now.

I wouldn't be so hopeful though. The Cowboys are desperate for a championship run and they know that Zeke will be a huge part of the team that finally brings the Lombardi back to Dallas. Don't expect Zeke's workload to be reduced. If anything, it might even increase after a six-game suspension in 2017.

We're a long way from knowing the answer to this question and debates about Dak and about D-Law will likely come before this one. Even still, Zack Martin's extension is giving Cowboys fans a lot to think about. Ezekiel Elliott's future is one of the many things in the mind of Cowboys Nation.

Tell me what you think about "Will Ezekiel Elliott Ever Receive a Long-Term Extension?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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7 Comments
  • Derek Robinson

    Zeke is the best running back in the NFL. Bar none!. If he’s the leading rusher in the NFL this year, he should be the highest paid RB in the league. PERIOD!!!

    • alan reyes

      Since Elliott is not expected to be part of the passing game this year as Austin is taking that role, Elliott cannot be considered among the best backs such as Gurley and Bell and others who are superior runners but really break the defense by being superior receivers. The Boys evidently have decided Elliott simp!y is limited as a receiver and traded for a 3rd down back. Power ,slashing runners are common and you don’t need to pay a lot for a slasher who can get 4.1 behind the Boys line and that is all Elliott was last season.

      • BUDDY

        Obviously you’re very ignorant about football. After your comment everything you said means absolutely nothing.

  • Chuck Wright

    Any talk of extension should at least have some breakdown of cap. Zeke is a 5th year guy so at best he’s 2 off seasons away from any extensions.

    Martin done, D Law will get his after this year assuming another big year, think Lawrence is allowed to walk and we’ll receive a 3rd round comp for him. Dak is the other pending extension and much of that will depend on 2018 though I can see him not extended until 2019.

    Great source though not yet updated with Zach’s new deal but the tabs let you walk forward thru 2022

    https://overthecap.com/salary-cap/dallas-cowboys/

  • alan reyes

    Actually, Elliott was very average and looked a step slower in 2017 such that Elliott was not at all an elite back last season. Unlike other actually elite backs, Elliot has not shown a feel for being a receiver. Elliott is a slashing power runner with speed but is not elusive. He takes a lot of hits. It is unlikely Elliott will continue as an effective back beyond his rookie contract given his limitation to being a 2 down back and the punishment his style of running absorbs. The real question on offense is can Elliott even be as effective in 2018 as 2016 or was last season’s regression permanent? Remember, even after he returned from suspension claiming he was in the best shape of his life, he was not dominant. Elliott has to prove he is not a one year wonder.

    • BUDDY

      You don’t watch very many Cowboys game apparently. Zeke is the best RB in the league. Last year would of f*cked anybody up. You will see how great he is this year with all the b*llshit behind him.

  • Not your goat

    I think the plan for Zeke all along has been to burn every mile off him in 5 years while we continue to build and maintain our offensive line. When we talk about a player, especially his workload we are usually paraphrasing the coaches and trainers from how they comment on each guy, like Kamara or Hunt you want him to “get touches but keep him healthy” and having “a pitch count”, in Zekes instance you only hear about giving him the largest workload he can handle since his 1st day as a Cowboy. Sure he’s a workhorse but RB’s don’t have a lifespan in years, they have a certain amount of reps. Guys that can blow the game open just can’t touch the ball 25 times a game, come December if he’s still on the field he is lucky to be at 70%. Zeke is a grinder and the type of guy who stays on the field because he wears your defense down late and unless your name is Jerome Bettis you just can’t do that for very long. You can’t tell me Marion Barber doesn’t come to mind when you think about paying a guy like that on a Veteran deal so I really think Dallas drafted Zeke as a 5 year lease from the beginning. How often have we seen any runningback go for 2500 yards in their 1st 2 seasons (probably 1 every 2 years) now how many of them have a 9 year career or even more still productive then? Because that’s what it would take to retain him, by then 4 years, 15mil per. The more likely scenario if he still has miles left and Zeke is still this monster producing at a high level we will Franchise him 2 years and let him walk for his 8th season and use the money elsewhere while looking for his replacement in the draft. Remember too, he was suspended to be a gift for Tony to finally get him a championship, if we were thinking long term there’s no doubt Ramsey should have been the pick.

Star Blog

Is WR Cole Beasley Being Underutilized?

Brian Martin

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Is WR Cole Beasley Being Underutilized?

Like any competitor, Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Cole Beasley wants to play and be as heavily involved as possible when the lights come on and the game is on the line. He's become accustomed to to being heavily involved in the game plan, that is until WR Amari Cooper arrived in Dallas.

Since the arrival of Amari Cooper, Cole Beasley has seen his offensive role dramatically reduced. He is no longer Quarterback Dak Prescott's favorite target in the passing game and it even looks as if he is taken a stumble down the Cowboys WR depth chart. At best, he is their WR3 now behind Cooper and Michael Gallup.

That's quite a fall from grace for a player who was Dallas' top receiver the last few seasons and the most targeted in the first half of this year. I can almost guarantee he's not happy about not being utilized more in the passing game, but he's a team player and will do what it takes to win.

Unfortunately for Beasley, Cooper's arrival has changed the Cowboys offense. He is back to his old role of working the short intermediate routes now with Cooper and Gallup playing on the outside. Because of that his stats have taken a hit. His targets, receptions, and the chance to help his team win has dropped off significantly.

Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley

In the two games before Cooper joined the team, Beasley had 16 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 19 targets. The six games since he only has 17 catches for 138 yards on 26 targets. That's a huge drop in production and has nothing to do with his performance. It's how he's being utilized.

Beasley has been forced to take a backseat in the Cowboys aerial attack. Amari Cooper has been highly targeted, and rightfully so, and Michael Gallup is seeing more passes thrown his way as well. Not to mention, Ezekiel Elliott has been used more as a receiver also.

There are just too many mouths to feed and unfortunately Cole Beasley is the odd man out. The sad thing is, that might not change anytime soon with the way the Cowboys offense is playing right now. It's one of the reasons why they currently have the league's best winning streak going for them.

It's to hard make an argument for Beasley receiving more looks in the passing game with the way the offense is playing, with the exception of in the red zone, but I do believe he needs to be more involved. After all, he is still one of the Cowboys best WRs and can't be covered by anyone in the league one-on-one.

I don't know about you, but I'm hoping things will circle back around and he will once again be more involved in the passing game. His ability to get open is uncanny and it's a shame to not take advantage of that God-given gift.

What do you think, should Cole Beasley start being utilized more?



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Star Blog

Time to see What Darius Jackson can do as Zeke’s Backup?

Brian Martin

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Will RB Darius Jackson Stick With Cowboys Second Time Around?

I hate to say it because I really like Rod Smith, but I think it may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to reevaluate the running back position as it pertains to Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup. Smith just hasn't been good this year, which is why I think it may be time to see what Darius Jackson can do if given the opportunity.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting the Dallas Cowboys move on from Rod Smith or demote him right now, but I would promote Darius Jackson from the practice squad to the active roster as insurance in case something were to happen to Zeke. It just seems the right time to make that move after #21's injury scare Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles.

You may have forgotten, but Ezekiel Elliott had to spend some time in the medical tent Sunday against the Eagles. He was luckily able to return to the game not long after, but it did shine a spotlight on Rod Smith and the lack of depth behind him.

Despite how much I like Rod Smith, and I do, he just hasn't been the same player this season as he was last year as Zeke's fill-in. He is just not running with any kind of authority and has been too apt to run east and west instead of north and south. I think it's one of the reasons why the Cowboys have continued to give Zeke such a heavy workload, despite him being banged up.

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

Now, Rod Smith did look a little better against the Eagles, but I still believe it would be wise for the Cowboys to promote Darius Jackson to the active roster. Having more depth at such a physically demanding position is just smart football.

With the Dallas Cowboys playoff spot all but secured, it might be time to start thinking about lightening Ezekiel Elliott's workload just a little bit. Whether it's Rod Smith or Darius Jackson, the Cowboys have to find someone who can step in and be productive.

Rod Smith has had his opportunities this year, but hasn't really been able to capitalize like we believed he could. It might be time to turn to Darius Jackson, a fan favorite, who unfortunately just hasn't been able to prove what he can do as of yet in a meaningful game. I think it's time we change that.

As much as I like Rod Smith, I might like Darius Jackson just a little bit more. I think he is kind of like a poor man's Ezekiel Elliott. He is just as athletically gifted and can be a threat as both a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. He just needs the opportunity to prove it.

There's really no way of knowing if I'm right or wrong about this, but I believe he is worthy of a roster spot on game day if nothing else. I'd rather have him and not need him then need him and not have him.

Do you think it's time to see what Darius Jackson can do?



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Star Blog

Cowboys Lassoing NFC East Title as NFC Dark Horse

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Cowboys Lassoing NFC East Title as NFC Dark Horse

Well don’t look now but the Dallas Cowboys are in control of their division and anything short of a catastrophic collapse will see them hosting the first round of the playoffs. Dallas strengthened their grip on the NFC East by knocking off a divisional rival and the reigning Super Bowl champions with a 29-23 overtime win over the Eagles.

Those who have a favorite online sportsbook and wagered on the Cowboys were ecstatic to see Dak Prescott hit Amari Cooper for a 15-yard touchdown pass in overtime, thus covering the 3 ½ point impost that oddsmakers hung on Dallas.

The Cowboys have now won five consecutive games, with three of those over divisional opponents Philadelphia (twice) and Washington. But before we celebrate, we must consider that there's still a mathematical possibility of either Philadelphia or Washington stealing the division crown away from the Cowboys.

The Giants' only hope is an outside shot at a wildcard berth if they win outright but they've been eliminated from contending for a division title due to their 1-4 record against NFC East teams.

Essentially, all the Cowboys must do is win one of their three remaining games in order to celebrate a division crown. If Philadelphia or Washington loses any of their three games they will be out due to tie breakers that go in the Cowboys’ favor.

As of this moment, the Redskins are a disaster with no one under center to captain their rudderless ship, and the Eagles must defeat the Rams in LA, which would be considered a stunning upset seeing as any reputable online sportsbook is offering the Rams as 9 ½ point favorites as of this writing; then they must win at home against Houston and on the road against the Redskins.

Of course, the Cowboys are counting only on themselves to reel in the division title and with games at Indianapolis, home against the Bucs, and wrapping their season in New Jersey against the Giants, at least one win seems likely.

The addition of Amari Cooper to the Dallas offensive arsenal has been a game-changer as the former Oakland Raider hauled in 10 of 13 targets for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner last Sunday against Philadelphia. He was the top-tier receiver Prescott had been lacking and his presence on the field improves both the passing game and running game by virtue of his dynamic playmaking abilities. Ezekiel Elliott has eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards in four of the six games since Cooper has been on the Cowboys roster.

Furthermore, Dallas has averaged 24.4 points per game over their last five wins with Cooper in the lineup, which is more than five points improved from where they were prior to their winning streak without him in a Dallas uniform.

In addition, Prescott has morphed from a game manager at 202 passing yards per game to a game breaker as evidenced by his 285.7 passing yard average in six games with his new target at his disposal.

Ultimately, the Cowboys will be tasked with turning all of this good mojo into a deep run into the postseason. We can now confidently say that there is one other team to consider besides the Rams, Bears, and Saints as this year’s NFC entrant into the Super Bowl. However, Dak Prescott will need to eliminate turnovers and interceptions if Dallas is truly going to contend against the powerhouses they will face in the playoffs.

Last Sunday, Prescott caught fire in the fourth quarter and ended with 455 yards passing, connecting on 42 of 54 passes with three touchdowns, but his two interceptions were converted into nine points by Philadelphia. As we move forward, Prescott will need to lead right from the get-go and understand that one poor decision can cost his team what is now a realistic shot at a championship season.



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