Ezekiel Elliott got a second contract, something a lot of running backs never see, but he is 27 and has no guaranteed money left on his contract next season. The Cowboys might not want to pay Elliott the $10.9 million he is due to make in 2023.
Complicating matters, Tony Pollard is set for free agency next year.
So, this season will decide the team’s future at the position.
For his part, Elliott isn’t looking beyond the here and now.
“I think it is a big season, but I think you can’t look too far down the road,” Elliott said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “I think if I focus on every day, if I focus on having a good day of camp, if I focus on taking it week by week, I think everything will handle itself. And I don’t think there’s really a reason to look that far down the road. I think if I handle my business every day, then I’ll be in a pretty good situation at the end of the season.”
Elliott averaged 4.1 yards per carry and 61.9 yards per game combined in 2020-21, but he partially tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Week 4 last season. Elliott never thought of sitting out games — he played all 17 — and wore a bulky brace for more than a month.
“It definitely was frustrating and definitely frustrating certain parts of the year, but it’s football,” Elliott said. “I think today might be the only day everyone’s going to be 100 percent. From here on out, everyone’s going to have a couple bumps and bruises and no one’s going to be 100, so just trying to do everything I can off the field to make sure I preserve my health and am ready for Sundays.”
Elliott did not require surgery, and the ligament now is fully healed. He spent the past few weeks working with his personal coach, Josh Hicks, and feels like himself again.
“It’s tough being injured and kind of feeling yourself lose a step,” Elliott said. “So it definitely helped me get back to moving at the speed I was used to and bringing that confidence back to myself — back to my body, back to my mind that I could make those cuts.”