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Ezekiel Elliott vs. Jaylon Smith: Who has the worst contract situation for the Cowboys?

Which contract is worse for the Cowboys?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Minicamp Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no fun taking shots at good guys. Jaylon Smith has been a stellar off-the-field character for the Dallas Cowboys, and back in 2018 turned in a season that had the Cowboys satisfied he was a star in the making. Smith is a quality person who is very active in charitable organizations. His untimely “swipe” celebrations have set some fans off, but it’s hard not to like him as a person.

Ezekiel Elliott has had a much rougher time for his off-the-field activities, but in recent times has been a model professional and has stayed out of trouble. He’s also a player with an infectious personality that teammates gravitate towards.

But no matter how we feel about them as people, ultimately we have to judge them on their play, and their contracts, when evaluating them as Dallas Cowboys players. These two have something in common - contracts that fans, and observers, think are bloated.

In fact, Bleacher Report called Ezekiel Elliott’s contract the one that the Cowboys would most like to disappear.

Contract Details: Six years, $90 million, $50.1 million guaranteed


Elliott’s career stats point toward last year being an aberration, as prior to averaging 65.3 rushing yards per game, his previous career low was nearly 20 yards per game better.

But that second-lowest total (84.8) came in 2019. In fact, Elliott’s rushing yards per game have dropped every year he’s been in the league.

He has already carried the ball over 1,400 times in the NFL—a lot of wear and tear for a 25-year-old tailback. He was also outplayed last year by Tony Pollard, who makes a fraction of what he does.

There’s a reason why so many NFL teams are wary of giving massive long-term extensions to running backs. Elliott can’t be faulted for getting paid, but if Jerry Jones could get a redo, Elliott isn’t getting a six-year pact with $50 million in guarantees.

Even at the time this contract was done, under the pressure of an Elliott hold out, many thought this was a ridiculous contract for a running back. It also meant Zeke got paid a second contract before Dak Prescott, and paying the running back before the quarterback, especially with a contract of this size, seems like folly.

But the Cowboys also gave out another big contract to a lower-valued position back then when they re-upped Jaylon Smith. He got a six-year, $68 million contract with $35 million guaranteed.

And much like Elliott, Smith’s production has been on the decrease since 2018. While Elliott’s contract is bigger, he has arguably still been the better player during the recent couple of years. Last year’s play from Smith was widely-panned by almost all Cowboys observers. Elliott’s was too, but there were moments when we saw some of the old Zeke on the field.

The Cowboys could get out of both deals after the 2021 season if they are willing to absorb some dead cap money (roughly $6.8 million for either).

So the question is which contract would you most like to make disappear from the Cowboys books?


Which contract would you most like to get rid of without a penalty?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Ezekiel Elliott
    (1005 votes)
  • 39%
    Jaylon Smith
    (654 votes)
1659 votes total Vote Now

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