Zeke Elliott is in Cabo this morning, likely hanging out with Sammy Hagar between workouts.
The Cowboys running back is holding out of training camp as he seeks a new contract, which led Dallas yesterday to sign free agent running back Alfred Morris, who played 28 games for the team in 2016 and 2017.
Insurance policy? Pretty much. Morris is 30 years old now, coming off a 2018 season in San Francisco in which he ran the ball 111 times for 428 yards and two touchdowns. That equates to 3.9 yards-per-rush. Beyond Morris, you’re looking at a couple of rookies in Tony Pollard and Mike Weber rounding out the running back depth chart, so there are big question marks behind Zeke.
Interestingly enough, Jerry Jones sat down with a Dallas TV station recently and said this, in part:
“….you don’t have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl. Emmitt (Smith) was the 1st to do it”
That is true.
The Patriots have done it with a rotating cast of characters and the Eagles split reps between Jay Ajayi, a midseason trade, LeGarrette Blount, a veteran, and Corey Clement, who was a rookie in 2017. Nick Foles and the Birds passing attack did the rest of the damage during the title-winning season.
But the irony here is that Jerry’s Super Bowl winning teams DID have a rushing champion, and that was a huge reason why they won it all, as Ed Werder points out:
Jerry Jones is correct – but that is the only way the teams he’s owned have won Super Bowls. There are 4 instances of the NFL rushing champion winning the SB. Terrell Davis in 1998, and Emmitt Smith 3 times – 1992, 93 and 95. https://t.co/dohIxFOHPz
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) July 29, 2019
Zeke Elliott is set to earn around $3.8 million this year and $9 million next year, which would take him to age 25. He’s already run the ball around 290 times per season on average, so two more years of that would take him to a little less than 1,500 carries, which is an immense workload for a modern day NFL running back. Once he gets to free agency – then what? Pay him a lot of money? It just doesn’t happen that way in 2019.
Either way, can’t say I blame Elliott for holding out. He knows, you know, and I know, that running backs have a short shelf life in the contemporary NFL, and now is his best chance for a pay day, before he inevitably starts slowing down. What’s interesting is what Dallas decides to do here, since they also have to pay Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, two guys with more immediate needs due to their current contract situations. Both are unrestricted free agents after this season, while Elliott has another year to go. He might have to just wait it out, unless the Cowboys cave and work out a new deal for him.
Perhaps he could sit out the entire year, which I think Eagles fans would support.