With several off field situations in his past and present, here is why the Dallas Cowboys must be coy with Ezekiel 0Elliott’s new deal.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is the best at his position in the entire NFL. Is that fact, opinion or both? Since he’s been in the league, he has won two rushing titles. He is already over 4,000 yards gained in just three seasons. Only legendary rusher Jim Brown has a higher career yards per game.
Last season Elliott showed how much of a menace he can be in the passing game as well, catching 77 balls for 567 yards and three touchdowns. He also is an active blocker, talented at picking up blitzes and capable of delivering jarring blows to defenders coming after his quarterback. Based on all of this, Elliott should, hands down, be the highest paid running back in the league.
Unfortunately, there is off field stuff too. Most, if not all, of these transgressions are just silly, unnecessary and immature. Still, they exist. Whether it is visiting a marijuana shop in Seattle, lifting a girl’s shirt at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, getting into an altercation at a bar, allegedly involved in domestic violence issues or “pushing” down a security guard at a concert, the incidents are too many.
Because of these, the Dallas Cowboys must protect themselves when offering Elliott’s next contract. There are a few options that Dallas has when going to the table for negotiations.
The most likely would involve some sort of poison pill whereas if Elliott is suspended again for off field transgressions, the contract would become null or Elliott may be required to pay some, if not all, of his signing bonus. Another possible option would be to not offer Elliott as many years as one may think he should get. Either way, fair or not, Zeke has done damage to his financial future.
It is never a good idea to let Commissioner Roger Goodell dabble in your personal affairs. As we saw the first time, even if you have mountains of evidence to the contrary, Goodell and his wheel of doom can land a player in serious jeopardy.
Even if nothing happens from this latest incident in regards to a suspension, you have to believe the Joneses will use this to negotiate a more team-friendly deal. Rams running back Todd Gurley received a four-year, $57.5 million (M) deal. Gurley earned a $21M signing bonus, $45M in guaranteed money, and averages just over $14M per year.
Los Angeles, however, was smart as Gurley has had injuries and the running back position is volatile. They build in an “out” after the 2021 season which would save them almost $27M and only cost them $5M in dead money if something goes awry. The Jets did the same after signing free agent back Le’Veon Bell.
They can save $28.5M with just a $4M cap hit after 2021 if they decide to let go of him. Otherwise, Bell will get $52.5M over four years, with $27M guaranteed, an $8M signing bonus and an average salary of just over $13M per season. Expect Elliott’s deal to look include the same sort of life preserver.
If I’m the Cowboys, my best offer is four years and $50M. Make the guaranteed money closer to Gurley’s deal at just above $40M and a signing bonus around $20M and a per year average around $14M as well.
The bail out though, comes in the form of voids if another suspension hits and an out after the third year. From there, let’s hope the news off the field dissipates at the same rapid pace Elliott is climbing the all-time yardage list.