Dallas Cowboys: Should Extend Ezekiel Elliott With Caution

At the 2016 NFL Combine, running back Ezekiel Elliott weighed in at 225lbs, measured 6’ 0” in height, and ran a 4.47 40 yard dash. Famed NFL franchise, the Dallas Cowboys needed a running back. Thus with the 4th overall pick, selected Elliott from the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Many refer to the Cowboys as “America’s Team”. However, if you struggle to remember the name of a coach or the number of a player, do not even bat an eye. As long as one name is etched in stone in your membrane. Jerry Jones! Jones is the owner, face, and the autocrat of his Dallas Cowboys football team.

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On draft day in 2016, unlike countless other times, Jones got it right welcoming star running back, Elliott into the Cowboys family. One passion Jones receives pure joy while performing is paying players, especially if “he” believes they will be productive. Shortly after the draft in May 2016, Jones signed Elliott to a 4-year rookie contract reportedly worth $24.9M (with a $16.3M signing bonus). In return, Elliott led the NFL in rushing his rookie season with 1,631 yards.

On the field, Elliott was extremely productive. In a short period of time quickly garnered marquee status within and outside of the Cowboys’ organization. Not only did Elliott earn the title for leading rusher in the NFL his rookie year, but also led the league again, running for more yards than any other running back in the 2018 NFL season with 1,434.

Elliott is currently entering into his 4th NFL season and deserves a brand new contract. One that rivals other running backs he competes against. Although there exists a strong demographic who feels Elliott is a big gamble. People within and outside of the organization are vocal about their sentiments of investing a substantial amount of monies into Elliott long-term. They do not think it is wise considering his past misfortunes off the field.

As “my momma” once told me when I thought my ego was my amigo. She said “Jamal, are you not seeing results? Feel like giving up? Just remember the last thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit”.

Certainly, Elliott’s transgressions are enough for genuine concern to be present. I believe Jones conceding some of his endless powers to his son Stephen Jones, is indicative of the inevitable change Dallas needs. In the past, Jerry Jones was notorious for giving his most productive players a bevy of second, third, or however many chances Jerry thought fit. Nonetheless, Jerry’s son Stephen is very opposite of his father. By all accounts, his dissimilar repo ire with the players will impact how differently Stephen will conduct business as well. Jerry Jones generously paid players. Nevertheless, his personal relationships with players at times seemed more important because Jerry understood not all support involved money. When players knew Jerry believed in them, it was priceless. On the other hand, I get the impression with Stephen Jones, his mantra is “the most reliable way to predict the future is to create it”.

Whichever way the pendulum swings, unless Elliott has another incident off the field, how can the Cowboys not pay him? Elliott for his career has 868 rushing attempts, 4,048 total rushing yards, averages 4.7 yards per attempt, and scored 28 touchdowns.

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Without question, Cowboy’s star RB Elliott is in the running for top RB in the entire NFL. Top 5 NFL running backs, in my opinion, are New York Jets RB Le’Veon Bell, New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Los Angeles Rams Todd Gurley, Cleveland Browns Kareem Hunt, and Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott. Gurley just signed a 4-year for $60M ($45M guaranteed) with a $20M signing bonus. Also, Bell sat out the entire 2018 NFL season over a money dispute. He then signed for a 4-year $52M ($35M guaranteed). Also, the contract could be worth up to $61M if he reaches performance incentives. Elliott was the leading rusher in the NFL last year.

If it was my turn to play NFL general manager, I would sign Elliott for 4-years $64M ($40M guaranteed). I would place protective language in the contract that would allow the Dallas Cowboys to receive monies back in the event Elliott has another episode outside of the gridiron.

How would you handle Ezekiel Elliot’s contract? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Jamal on Twitter @JamalBurke9.

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