By: Jake Rajala (Twitter: @rajala_jake)
The age of Dallas boasting a moving “great wall” offensive line with a prime, expensive Ezekiel Elliot to display could be a withering chronicle.
The Dallas ball-carrier with a reputation for expressing “feed me” has flexed a career-low performance this season in nearly every category (rushing YDs, YPC, rushing TDs, Y/R, catch %, and fumbles). And to make matters worse, Zeke’s blunder of performance has come in a putrid team outcome (4-9 team record) during this mysterious year. Not only does Jerry Jones have to re-shape his expected Super-Bowl contending team this off-season, but he has to resolve Dak Prescott’s contract (potentially record-breaking deal).
The mere 25-year-old Dallas RB on this horrid, last-place 2020 NFC East team is under a robust “six year-90 million” deal. Will Jerry Jones maintain his once fourth-overall draft selection with a catastrophic contract, or will we see the Cowboys owner/GM exchange a well-known workhorse in Dallas as we’ve seen unravel in the past?
Jones has already part ways with a high-profile, elite RB that was exceeding Elliot’s performance (perhaps not his fame), in Demarco Murray. The most exotic part about not resigning Murray was that it came after the short-lived RB was the leading rusher in the whole NFL (led the league in 2014, left in next-off season)!
Dallas essentially broke up with Demarco Murray to afford a prized contract for the Dallas legend, Dez Bryant. Would it make more than enough sense for Dallas to ship out Elliot, so they could afford their franchise signal-caller, in addition to addressing other positions with the cap dollar? I believe so.
If Dallas keeps Elliot as the second-highest paid RB in the league ($15 million per season) or in the Top-8 range (12+ million yearly), they are believing in themselves to lean inconceivably lean on Dak-Elliot to propel a mediocre roster all the way through December & January. Dallas also drafted another first-round WR in 2020 (Ceedee Lamb) , so they will likely have to pay “another WR” in Lamb his due shortly down the block.
In these recent times, Jerry Jones could likely depart yet another high profile RB from the NFC (Todd Gurley being the other), to spread the wealth around an aching roster. Which team would pose the grandest offer & tackle the high-priced profile? Let’s make way to dissect a few capable NFL squads.
The Chicago Bears would be more than ideal landing spot for Zeke Elliot’s services. The Bears have a dire need for a top-notch, consistent threat in their 28th ranked rushing offense.
The current starter at RB in Chicago is David Montgomery, who is a second-year, starting-caliber RB that could be a 1,000-yard season rusher in hindsight, upon viewing his two seasons of play thus far (889 rushing yards in 2019, 760 rushing yards in 12 games this year). Yet, I believe a healthy, in-shape, motivated Elliot would still oust an excellent RB duo with Montgomery, or potentially an upgrade over the next two-three seasons.
After Montgomery, chaos ensues on the depth chart. Their second-leading rusher is RB/WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson brings “211 rushing yards & 3.6 YPC” in 2020. And not in shock, this is Patterson’s first year in his long-lasted career as a team’s second-most accomplished “No. two running-back”.
The Bears flex a talented defense, a brutal frostbit home-field advantage, but they need to engineer a well-rested defensive unit by getting back to the ground and pound football on offense. Matt Nagy’s squad is 21st in the time of possession, which is dissolving their team performance and leaving their defense full of high-priced acquisitions out to dry (5th highest paid defense in the NFL, according to spotrac).
It’s unclear what will happen at quarterback for Chicago Bears. It would be deemed more than likely that a free-agent QB/rookie newcomer gets the starting nod. Whoever the unknown starter is, it should be expected that the profile is making less than the Top-12 dollar at the QB position. And the Bears might lose their Pro-Bowl talent at WR, Allen Robinson via free agency (contract expires in 2021), so Chicago could surely be in a fine position to reel in Elliot.