Since the Cowboys drafted him with the fourth overall pick three drafts ago, Ezekiel Elliott has been the focal point of the offense in Dallas.
He’s led the league in rushing in two of his three seasons, Dallas won the division title in both of them, and led the league in rushing yards per game in the outlier (he’s led the NFL in this category in all three of his seasons). He eclipsed 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in 2018 after the Cowboys involved him more in the passing game. Needless to say, he’s been worked an awful lot.
Running backs have sort of returned to relevance in the NFL when you look at the landscape of the position across the league. They’re getting taken in the first round again after an absence (Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey are examples) and want to be paid like the workhorses that they are.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell infamously held out through the 2018 season because he could not reach a contract that he liked with the team. On the subject of contracts, it appears that Zeke wants a new one of his own and he wants it this offseason.
This offseason, whenever it begins, is going to be a big one for the Cowboys. They have financial decisions looming with players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper among others, and Zeke is eligible for an extension since he is completing his third season.
The Los Angeles Rams rewarded Todd Gurley with a contract extension last offseason which was the one following his third year. Gurley’s deal was for four years worth $60M, with $45M guaranteed. That’s a lot of cheese but a player like Elliott is certainly worth it.
Of course the Cowboys don’t have to do anything with Zeke’s contract as he’ll be entering the fourth year of his rookie deal. They will obviously pick up his fifth-year option, but anything beyond that right now is hard to figure out.
It’s about to get expensive at The Star.