LaDainian Tomlinson: Ezekiel Elliott has earned a new deal

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Ezekiel Elliott has an agent, but he has another unpaid one in Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson is all in on the Cowboys giving Elliott a contract extension.

“Here’s the thing: Zeke has earned a new contract,” Tomlinson, now an NFL Network analyst, said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “People talk about projections and how many more years can he [be productive]. It’s not about that. It’s about what the guy has earned. Zeke has led that team to two division titles in the last three years. He’s led the National Football League in rushing two years already in his short career.

“To be quite honest with you, he’s done it the right way. He hasn’t been in trouble other than that one time. So I think he deserves a new contract, and he deserves to be paid as one of the top players in the National Football League.”

Elliott is entering the final year of his rookie deal with a base salary of $3.9 million, but the Cowboys assuredly will pick up his fifth-year option at more than $10 million for 2020. They also could franchise him in 2021.

But Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram reported last week that Elliott could holdout during training camp if he doesn’t get a new deal this offseason.

Elliott, having led the league in rushing two of his first three seasons, will use Todd Gurley‘s deal with the Rams as a guidepost. Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million deal after his third season, getting a $20 million signing bonus and $45 million in guarantees.

But the Cowboys didn’t want to pay DeMarco Murray what the market bore three years ago, and he left for the Eagles’ five-year, $42 million contract with $21 million guaranteed. The Cowboys’ best offer was four years and $24 million with $12 million fully guaranteed.

The Cowboys, though, also discovered in 2015 that they couldn’t throw any runner into their offense — i.e. Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle — and get the same results. Coach Jason Garrett famously said “the runner matters” after the Cowboys drafted Elliott with the fourth overall pick in 2016.

Elliott, 23, has proved his worth with 5,247 yards from scrimmage and 34 total touchdowns in three seasons, but he also has 1,003 touches.

The Cowboys will have to weigh everything before deciding what they’re willing to pay Elliott and for how long.

14 responses to “LaDainian Tomlinson: Ezekiel Elliott has earned a new deal

  1. Tomlinson has the pedigree to speak on this topic. I don’t like how Zeke “feeds” himself after every play of his, but he does dominate. I’ll give him that.

  2. He earned the money in his current contract. When he signs a new contract, it will be based on what a team thinks his future contributions can be…

  3. Actually it is all about projections and how long you will play. It’s a salary cap league. You’re future contract is for what you are expected to do not what you’ve already been paid to do.

  4. Elliott deserves to get paid but the Cowboys have little incentive to do so. They can wait out another 2 years in case of serious injury, reduction in performance, or misbehavior. Under the current CBA running backs are the most disadvantaged because of the wear and tear they take on the field. The players need to negotiate a better deal next time around.

  5. “It’s not about that. It’s about what the guy has earned.”

    No, he got paid for those years. It’s about what he’ll be worth in the next contract, period.

  6. rageviral says:
    February 8, 2019 at 12:49 am
    Let him leave. Running backs are 10 a penny. Pick one up in the 4th round.
    —-
    Is that why every NFL team has a 1400 yard rusher?

  7. He has earned the salary of a top 5 RB, no doubt. But the Cowboys Need to add a clause that says he can’t do his “feed me” thing after EVERY play. Nothing worst then seeing a player celebrate or making any gesture after a 3 yard run when his team is down 20 points.

    Besides that Zeke is the total package. Great RB.

  8. Pay Zeke……not so much Dak. Why pay a huge contract for an average QB? Not trying to hate on Dak, just trying to be honest.

  9. 1phillyphan says: “Nothing worst then seeing a player celebrate or making any gesture after a 3 yard run when his team is down 20 points.”
    ====================

    Patriots were down 28-3 in the Super Bowl when Amendola made a catch and got up all pumped and doing his 1st down “gesture”… On the same drive, James White scored a 5 yd TD pass and the Patriots all celebrated in the endzone with him while still down 28-9.

    Comebacks happen ALL THE TIME. Nothing wrong with trying to pump up your teammates or the crowd.

  10. If you are paying him for past performance you are making a big mistake. That isn’t how you keep a healthy cap. He is a RB. His self life is very short and you will paying a guy too much that will be a shell of himself. That Patriots stay on top because they don’t pay out these contracts.

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