Are the Oakland Raiders a potential suitor for Ezekiel Elliott?
If the Dallas Cowboys decide to move on from All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, could the Oakland Raiders be a potential suitor in a trade?
Rumors that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is considering skipping training camp if his contract extension talks aren’t progressing the way he wants has fueled trade speculation. The fourth-year running back still has two years left on his current deal in Dallas. And considering his vast off-the-field troubles, Zeke seems to be in no position to demand an extension.
Yet, despite his latest run-in with the law still being fresh in the minds of both the organization and fans, it was recently reported by Pro Football Talk that Elliott is privately considering a holdout. In a previous article (which you can read here), I pondered whether a holdout would insult the Cowboys’ brass, who have supported Zeke throughout his issues, and spur the organization to trade him.
If so, which teams might be potential trade partners that would covet Elliott enough to hand over a king’s ransom? A few organizations come to mind. Certainly, the Cleveland Browns have been a hot name as of late, trading for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in March. I could see a deal involving Brown’s running back Duke Johnson, someone the Cowboys have been rumored to be interested in, along with various draft picks.
On Tuesday’s episode of The Herd, Colin Cowherd suggested the Houston Texans would be an ideal trading partner keeping Elliott in the Lone Star State.
Several other teams make sense as well as there are many franchises in need of a generational running back. Elliott has led the NFL in rushing in two of his first three seasons in the NFL. And at just 23-years old, hasn’t hit his prime yet.
The Indianapolis Colts, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks, and more could all be potential suitors for someone like Zeke. But the franchise that I believe could make the most sense is the Oakland Raiders.
Here’s what one possible trade scenario with the Raiders that I could see the Cowboys getting for Elliott …
The Cowboys have a recent trade history with the Raiders, having exchanged their 2019 first-rounder for Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper last year. The move turned the season around for Dallas in 2018. It seems plausible that established relationship could help move Elliott.
With new general manager Mike Mayock in place, and considering the unpredictability of head coach Jon Gruden, nabbing the league’s top rusher would be exactly the kind of move you’d expect from a team moving to Las Vegas in 2020.
After losing Marshawn Lynch to retirement, the Raiders used the draft to address their need at running back. But certainly, someone like Elliott makes a much bigger splash for Gruden and company. And that’s exactly what the team appears to want to do prior to their arrival in the Sin City.
In exchange for Elliott, I can envision the Cowboys getting two talented, albeit unproven rookies that could have an immediate impact. Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram was selected with the 27th overall selection, the pick Dallas traded to Oakland for Cooper. It is very likely Abrams would have been the Cowboys’ selection at that spot too if they hadn’t traded it away (of course, Dallas would also have picked much higher without Cooper). Abram would help solidify the secondary on a rookie price tag.
Now, throw in Josh Jacobs, the first running back taken in the draft (24th overall). The rookie runner only recently signed a four-year deal in Oakland. That lengthy negotiation could have soured the Raiders’ brass somewhat on the Alabama product. The trade would give Dallas another starting-caliber running back to pair with their own talented rookie, Tony Pollard. And Jacobs also comes with a rookie contract plus a fifth-year option to boot.
I also have Dallas getting one of the Raiders’ two 2020 first rounders to sweeten the deal. It would likely be the extra selection Oakland got from the Chicago Bears in the Khalil Mack trade.
That’s essentially three-first round selections for Elliott and a fourth-rounder. Knowing Oakland will immediately have to make Zeke the highest-paid running back in the NFL and considering his off-the-field issues, this proposal seems to be a fair trade. But trades in this league are rarely viewed as fair afterward. And some fans may demand a Herschel Walker-level of compensation for Elliott, but I’m unsure those types of deals exist anymore.
This is just only one possible trade scenario for Ezekiel Elliott. First, do you even believe the Dallas Cowboys would actually trade Zeke? If so, do the Oakland Raiders make sense to you as a potential suitor? Finally, what would you like to see Dallas receiving in a possible trade for Zeke? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.