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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

Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

Brian Martin

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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off arguably their best and most complete offensive performance of the season after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made. The need to get more playmakers involved is apparent, which is why I think it's time to utilize Fullback Jamize Olawale's unique skill set.

I know many of you will argue that getting Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup going is a higher priority, and you wouldn't be wrong, but Jamize Olawale's playmaking ability could be a huge asset for Quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. I know it sounds a little strange, but hang in there with me for little bit.

As things stand right now, Olawale has only played 38 offensive snaps (10%) in 2018. That's the exact amount of offensive plays Wide Receiver Terrance Williams has played this year and he's missed the majority of the season. It's not exactly the kind of production I was expecting when the Cowboys decided to bring him aboard via trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.

I don't know about you, but I was expecting Olawale to be more involved in the offensive game plan. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and isn't too shabby as a runner either. But, we haven't seen him utilized in either fashion this season and I think that's an injustice that needs to be corrected.

Now, I fully understand there are other offensive weapons ahead of him in the pecking order who need to see more targets, but I also really think he can make a difference maker, especially in the passing game. That is where his strengths lie, not as a lead blocking fullback.

Jamize Olawale

Dallas Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale

Olawale was a bit of a Swiss Army knife during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He played a little running back, fullback, tight end, and even a little slot receiver. I really thought the Cowboys would take advantage of his versatility in the passing game, but as of yet they have failed to do so.

I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan utilize Jamize Olawale's unique playmaking ability a little bit more on offense. I think they should try to utilize him like the San Francisco 49ers use their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. He's much more involved and has played a total of 263 offensive snaps (63.68%) this year.

Juszczyk is a better lead blocking FB then Olawale, but that's not where he makes the most difference in the 49ers offense. He does it as a receiver and has already caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. That's some pretty solid production from a position that is being phased out in the NFL.

Now, just imagine the Cowboys offense getting similar production from Olawale and how that would help open up things for everybody else. It's not out of the realm of possibility because the 49ers offense and the Cowboys isn't all that dissimilar.

Unfortunately, I think Jamize Olawale is pretty much an afterthought in the Cowboys offense right now. It's truly unfortunate because I think he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity. And with a division foe like the Washington Redskins next on the schedule, what better time to unleash a new and unseen element of the offense?

Do you think Jamize Olawale needs to be more involved offensively?



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Cole Beasley Key to Cowboys Passing Game Productivity?

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars 1

What most of us already knew was confirmed last Sunday afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wide Receiver Cole Beasley is the Dallas Cowboys best receiver and is the key to the passing game productivity. He is not only the most productive, but the most consistent.

Cole Beasley isn't the tallest or the fastest and definitely doesn't look like a prototypical NFL receiver, but he showed last week against the Jaguars why opposing defenses have to account for him on every single play. He torched Jacksonville's top-ranked passing defense for 101 yards on nine catches and added two touchdowns, and it's that production that could help open up the entire passing game for the Cowboys.

It's painfully obvious Cole Beasley has been Dak Prescott's favorite target in the passing game since he took over the starting duties in 2016. Once opposing defenses figured that out they started to make things extremely difficult by bracketing Beasley in coverage and the passing game hasn't been the same since. But, that could be changing if the Jaguars game was an indication of what we might see moving forward.

Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan did a much better job of moving Beasley around to create favorable matchups against the Jaguars. I think we will see much more of that moving forward, but that likely means opposing defenses will once again try to take away Prescott's favorite target. That actually could end up helping the Cowboys passing game though.

Dak Prescott, Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

If opposing defenses indeed try to contain Cole Beasley like they've done in the past, it should help provide more opportunities for Dallas' other pass catchers. Spreading the ball around to several different receivers would not only help Prescott and the passing game, but also open up the entire offense.

We haven't really seen much of Allen Hurns or Michael Gallup this season, but both are more than capable of being more productive if they are seeing single coverage more often. That's what's likely to happen if defenses bracket Beasley in coverage once again. Both WRs need to be more involved anyway and Beasley's recent spike in production could help do just that.

Now, if defenses decide to try and cover Beasley one-on-one like the Jaguars did quite a bit of last Sunday, the Cowboys would be wise to take advantage of that mismatch. He simply can't be covered by a single defensive back because of his precise route running ability. He is that good.

Regardless of how opposing defenses try to handle/contain Cole Beasley, he is without a doubt key to the Dallas Cowboys passing game productivity. Just the threat of him on the field changes a defenses approach, which is why he is Dallas' #1  WR in my book. He absolutely has to be more involved moving forward, even if it is as a decoy.

Do you think Cole Beasley is the key to the Cowboys passing game productivity?



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Star Blog

How ‘Bout them Cowboys?! Dallas Set to Lasso Redskins in Week 7

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How ‘Bout them Cowboys?! Dallas Set to Lasso Redskins in Week 7

Well, what do you think now of America’s Team? Anyone who foresaw Dallas’s evisceration of the league’s No. 1 defense hailing from Jacksonville is a downright soothsayer. In case you were in a coma this past weekend, the Cowboys obliterated the Jaguars’ vaunted defense to the tune of a 40-7 massacre in which Dak Prescott tossed for 183 yards, two passing touchdowns and ran one into the end zone for good measure. When the dust settled Prescott had chewed up 82 yards on the ground and Ezekiel Elliott surpassed the century mark in rushing with 106 yards and a touchdown of his own.

It was a glorious day to be a Cowboys fan and it’s safe to say that America’s Team is back!

Or are they?

Dallas is in a three-way logjam for the top spot in the NFC East with the Redskins and Eagles, but the way they made mincemeat of the Jacksonville defense gives us all hope that more good things are in the cards soon.

Seventh-year WR Cole Beasley blew the doors off of the Jags secondary by catching nine passes on 11 targets for a pair of touchdown receptions and 101 yards. It was a season-high for Beasley and the fact that Prescott has no real top-tier targets after the departures of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten makes it even more special.

This is a team that was not supposed to be able to move the ball through the air and, to be fair, hasn’t done much of it this season as evidenced by their 29th ranked passing game. But a little creative game planning by Head Coach Jason Garrett and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan paid dividends and the lingering specter of their heartbreaking overtime loss to the Texans in Week 5 was exorcised by the dominating victory.

What has gotten lost in the euphoria of Dallas’s week 6 win is their defense, as the Cowboys had three sacks, seven quarterback hits, and an interception by Jeff heath.

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles was under siege and did not respond well to the pressure after establishing career highs in passing yards over the last two weeks leading up to this contest. But his opportunity to become the fifth NFL QB with three consecutive games of 375 passing yards or more evaporated in the heat of a blistering Dallas defense. Bortles ended the day with 149 yards, a TD and a pick.

As the Cowboys move on to Washington, we see that their success at home is only equaled by their struggles on the road. Dallas is now 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the highway. Buoyed off their stunning blitzkrieg of the Jags, we see that one of the most respected and trusted online sportsbooks in the industry, BetOnline has the Cowboys as 1 ½ point underdogs which is most likely a few points below what they would have been had they not won so convincingly last week.

Those who like to back up their football prognostications with cold, hard cash understand that Dallas is not only losing on the road but losing money for their backers in those contests. In those three losing games, Dallas is 0-2-1 against the spread but this week could be different. Against their divisional foes this week, Dallas is 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS versus Washington over the last two seasons.

The way this Cowboys defense is playing and the sudden explosion of Cole Beasley as a focal point of the passing attack, we could very easily see their first road win of the year.



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