With Ezekiel Elliott holding out for a new deal with the Dallas Cowboys, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thinks a trade for Adrian Peterson should be explored.
When it comes restructuring his contract, running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys seem to be as far apart as Cabo San Lucas is to Oxnard, California. According to Google Maps, that’s over 1,200 miles apart or nearly a 24-hour trip by car.
Elliott, who is reportedly heading to or already in Cabo, is refusing to attend training camp presumably until a financial new agreement can be reached with the Cowboys. The fourth-year running back still has two years left on his rookie deal in Dallas. Elliott is scheduled to make $3.85 million in base salary this season according to spotrac.com. That salary will jump to $9 million in 2020.
As a two-time NFL rushing leader, Elliott is likely wanting to be the highest-paid running back in the league. And rightfully so. This highest-paid player at Zeke’s position going into 2019 is the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley, whose average annual salary is north of $14 million per season according to overthecap.com.
Elliott’s average yearly salary is $6.2 million going into this season. Running backs like Jerick McKinnon of the San Francisco 49ers ($7.5 million), Leonard Fournette of the Jacksonville Jaguars ($6.7 million), and Lamar Miller of the Houston Texans ($6.5 million) are all paid more.
Although Elliott’s on-field play makes him more than worthy of a raise, his off-the-field troubles don’t. The 24-year old was suspended for six games in 2017 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy for suspected domestic violence.
Earlier this year, the NFL investigated an incident in Las Vegas involving Elliott and a 19-year old security guard. Other issues include Zeke pulling down a woman’s shirt which was captured on video in 2017 and being involved in a bar fight in Dallas that very same year.
With Elliott choosing to leave the country rather than attend training camp with his teammates, the Cowboys elected to sign free agent running back Alfred Morris on Monday in a move that is likely more about adding experience to the roster than being any kind of Zeke replacement.
That being said, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk floated the idea that the Cowboys might want to explore a trade for a name that has been linked to the organization for years. That being Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson.
” … the most intriguing trade option for the Cowboys involves a Texas native who has previously made it clear that he’d like to play in Dallas: Adrian Peterson … It’s a spitball at this point, nothing more. The broader point is that, if the Cowboys are serious about taking a hard line with Elliott, signing a player like Alfred Morris won’t convince anyone of that. Trading for a player like Peterson definitely will.”
Trades within the division are rare. But if the 34-year running back is on the brink of being released anyway, Washington may be willing to flip Peterson to an NFC East rival for draft compensation. According to Florio, the Redskins have already given Adrian a $1.5 million signing bonus, so they may want some financial compensation as well. Peterson has a base salary of just $1.03 million in 2019.
The Cowboys trading for someone like Peterson doesn’t make sense right now, following the addition of Morris. Dallas already has Darius Jackson, Jordan Chubb, Mike Weber, and Tony Pollard on the roster. But if the team suffers an injury or wants to move on from one of their existing backs, a trade for the future Hall of Famer could be a consideration. It just doesn’t make sense this early into Elliott’s holdout.
Despite his age, Adrian Peterson posted 1,042 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns for the Washington Redskins last season. Against the Dallas Cowboys in Week Seven, the pride of Palestine, Texas recorded 99 yards on 24 carries in a 20-17 victory at FedExField. Peterson has expressed his desire to play for the Cowboys in the past. If Elliott’s holdout threatens to leak into the regular season, Adrian’s wish may come true.