Watch Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott roll a strike at RT La’el Collins’ charity bowling event
God knows giving Zeke a new deal right now should not be in Jerry’s purview.
Zeke lost both the moment he chose to be a running back, and then was the fourth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Running backs die young, and first round picks must sign four-year deals that include a team option for a fifth season.
(This is yet another example of poor leadership by the NFL union. No union chief should have agreed to this provision).
Zeke is fighting the good fight. He must. As the player the Cowboys’ offense flows through, he has leverage to possibly land a generational-wealth contract. He may as well try; it’s not as if he’s going to miss a thing between now and Week 1 of the regular season.
Him sitting out training camp and preseason is nothing. All of this talk about Zeke missing anything only matters until Week 1. The rest is gas.
If Zeke wants to pull a Le’Veon Bell and sit out an entire season over a contract, let him. Careers are short, make as much as you can before the NFL turns off the money, because it will soon enough.
Never waste a year of making six or seven figures when you don’t know if you could make zero the next year. As Emmitt Smith once told me about post-NFL life, people are not just in a line to hand you $300,000 checks.
The Cowboys, as much as they like the player, should not give in to their favorite child, and not because he behaves like one. This franchise, since the days of Tom Landry, has survived and thrived, despite the enabled petulant behaviors of some of their most talented players.
As Jerry has said many times, he may not choose to do this, or make that decision, at the present time “because I don’t have to.”
As the most potent offensive player on the team, Zeke has some leverage, but Jerry owns the team.
The NFL has repeatedly shown that paying big money is wise for a handful of positions, even to those occupied by “children,” and running back is not one of them.
Take the predictable case of L.A. Rams running back Todd Gurley. Last year, he was handed a four-year, $60 million deal that included $45 million in guaranteed cash. It made him the highest paid running back in NFL history. Good for him.
Much like the Cowboys current situation with Zeke, the Rams could have waited two more years before burying Gurley in money. He was under contract for two more years.
Now, after a terrible postseason where either Gurley was nursing a knee injury or was just an ineffective player, the Rams may use the NFL’s highest paid running back in a platoon role. The club is already talking about Gurley’s load management.
Just as much as the Cowboys don’t want to see Zeke sit out a year, they do not want to agree to another giant deal for a player whose value is either fading, or gone.
They did that once with another running back this century. Remember Marion Barber?
If Zeke can get it, he should go get it, even if it means going to the Bengals, Jets or Lions. For Zeke Elliott, this is his only chance.
For the Dallas Cowboys, there will be other running backs.