Dallas Cowboys should extend Ezekiel Elliott; Avoid possible holdout
The Dallas Cowboys should go ahead and extend the contract of running back Ezekiel Elliott this offseason to avoid any chance of a holdout.
The Dallas Cowboys have gotten their monies worth out of running back Ezekiel Elliott in his first three seasons. Two rushing titles, two Pro Bowl bids, two All-Pro nominations, 4,048 rushing yards, 1,199 receiving yards and a combined 34 touchdowns have proven that.
Elliott was the most used running back in the league for the second time in his young career, carrying the ball 304 times in 2018. That was 43 more rushing attempts than the next closest player.
That kind of usage combined with his physical running style will certainly limit his shelf life in the NFL. So it was no surprise when reports surfaced earlier this month that the 23-year old is seeking a contract extension this offseason. And in order to ensure he receives a new deal, one of the options Elliott can employ is holding out of games in 2019.
Here’s what long time Cowboys’ beat writer Clarence E. Hill Jr. wrote about the possibility Elliott holds out this upcoming season if he isn’t extended, via the Star-Telegram.
"“Elliott is due $3.58 million in 2019, and the Cowboys will certainly exercise the fifth-year option in his contract, guaranteeing him more than $10 million in 2020. But it’s a law of diminishing returns for Elliott after that because of his high usage in the Cowboys offense. He has 1,003 touches since 2016, including 304 rushes and a career-high 77 catches in 2018.”"
Hill Jr. also pointed out that Los Angeles Rams’ running back Todd Gurley, who was also a first-round selection like Elliott, received a four-year, $60 million contract extension after his third season. It would make sense that those in Zeke’s camp would be looking for a similar deal regardless of the remaining time on his rookie contract and a possible fifth-year option.
The Cowboys must avoid a holdout by Elliott at all cost. Coming off a Super Bowl win back in 1992, Dallas promptly lost their first two games the following season because Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith held out due to a contract dispute. After two weeks, and much angst in their locker room, the Cowboys made Smith the highest paid running back in league history.
After extending Smith, Dallas would go on a seven-game winning streak, come away with victories in 15 of their next 17 games including the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills, the very same team that beat them back in Week Two without Emmitt in the lineup.
With Ezekiel Elliott filling a very similar role for America’s Team in 2019, the Dallas Cowboys can not allow their most important player to miss any games due to a contract dispute. In the words of John Malkovich from the movie Rounders: “Pay him. Pay that man his money.“