2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB
It really is nothing personal with Elliott.
We’d go as far as to say the discourse surrounding the veteran running back has been overblown. The idea Zeke is no longer useful is misguided. He was one of the NFL’s best backs in short-yardage situations, and his 12 rushing scores trailed only Jamaal Williams, Derrick Henry, and Austin Ekeler among RBs.
Of course, Elliott’s contract is too expensive for him to be brought back as a situation-dependent runner. He averaged less than 3.55 yards per carry on non-short yardage runs, which finished last among qualified backs, per PFF.
Even on a restructured contract, you have to ask what the purpose would be as far as brining Elliott back for an eighth season. Regardless, it’s blatantly obvious the three-time Pro Bowler is on the hot seat entering the offseason.
The playoff loss to San Francisco was over as soon as Tony Pollard was ruled out. That’s an indictment on Zeke as much as it is a testament to Pollard’s importance to the offense. His acceleration is nearly fully gone, and it’s a chore to watch him try to make defenders miss in the open field.