In 2019, the Dallas Cowboys made a bold move by signing running back Ezekiel Elliott to a record-breaking $90 million contract. This decision was based on Elliott's impressive performance in his early career, which saw him redefine the workhorse back role with an impressive 1,631 yards in his rookie season. However, this investment has proven to be a costly mistake.
The Downfall of a Promising Career
Elliott's performance took a nosedive in the 2022 NFL season, recording a career-low 3.9 yards per touch. His disappointing performance led to his release from the Cowboys in the 2023 offseason, leaving him a free agent. Douglas Clawson of CBS Sports labeled Elliott as "one of the biggest busts" ever at his position, highlighting the risk of investing massive contracts in running backs.
The Controversy Surrounding Elliott
Elliott's fall from grace was not just due to his declining performance on the field. He was also embroiled in a domestic violence controversy, further tarnishing his reputation. Despite these allegations, the Cowboys are reportedly considering re-signing Elliott, indicating their continued faith in his potential.
The Lesson for the NFL
The Ezekiel Elliott saga serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with high-value contracts for running backs. It underscores the need for NFL teams to carefully evaluate not just a player's current performance, but also their potential for consistency and longevity. As the debate around the value of running backs continues, Elliott's case will undoubtedly serve as a cautionary tale.