OXNARD, CA – With no money secured on Ezekiel Elliott’s contract after 2022, many are wondering if this will be his last year with the Dallas Cowboys.
Elliott is not one of those wondering.
“I think it’s a big season, but I think you can’t look too far down the road,” Elliott said. “I think if you focus on every day, if you focus on having a good day at camp, if you focus on eating it week after week, I think everything will handle itself. And I don’t think there’s really a reason to look that far out of that way. I think if you handle With my work every day, I will be in a very good position at the end of the season.”
Elliott’s base salary of $12.4 million is fully guaranteed as part of the $90 million extension he signed in 2019. And the Cowboys have a financially easier path to go from in 2023 because there is no more money secured in his contract. It is set to make $10.9 million in 2023.
Elliott’s rush-per-game dropped every season, from 108.7 yards per game in 2016, his rookie year, to 58.9 in 2021.
The main reason for the drop last year was a partial rupture of the posterior ligament in his right knee, which he suffered in his fourth game of the season. Elliott was on his way for over 1,500 yards during his first five games last season with five touchdowns. He topped 69 yards only once in his last 12 games and finished with 1,002 yards and 10 touchdowns on 237 planes.
For more than a month he was wearing a huge knee brace for extra protection because the injury limited his exploding.
“It was definitely frustrating and definitely frustrating in certain parts of the year, but it’s football,” Elliott said. “I think today might be the only day everyone will be 100%. From now on everyone will have some bumps and bruises and no one will be 100 so I just try to do everything I can off the field to make sure I’m staying healthy and ready for Sundays” .
Elliott never thought of losing a game. He has only missed one game in his career due to injury.
“He’s at the top of the list in his redeeming qualities and there are a lot of players you see around the league who, if things aren’t going well, will sit down. That’s not Zeke,” said Executive Vice President Stephen Jones. “He wants to be there for his team and teammates and I’m a hell of a fan of that and what 21 people are about. One thing is for sure: We’re going to do our best for 21, week in, week out. And he’s a great footballer.”
Elliott admitted some concern that the knee didn’t heal quickly enough after the season ended, but surgery was never an option.
“I was a bit worried early in the season, like, ‘Dang, this thing still kind of looks a little bit suspicious,'” Elliott said. work, and I’ll probably say by the time you hit the OTA, you’re back at 100.”
Elliott was able to work with his personal trainer, Josh Hicks, prior to training camp.
“It’s hard to get injured and kind of feel like you’re missing a step,” Elliott said. “It definitely helped me get back to moving at the speed I used to and put that confidence back into myself — and back to my body, and come back to my mind that I can make those cuts.”
With Elliott and Tony Bullard, the Cowboys think they have one of the best tandems in the NFL. Pollard had 719 yards in 130 buggies last year. He also had 39 passes for 337 yards, leading some to claim a fairer division of touches.
Pollard and Elliott could see more action in the field together this year as the Cowboys look to replace some of the Amari Cooper’s receiving production in different ways. But Elliot will remain a major character.
“Zech Elliott is one of our stones on this team,” McCarthy said. “He’s a key player. The communication, his ability to do all the extra little things and those are the things that I obviously look at and be a part of. The extra work he does in pre-training, after training, on Tuesdays, I mean he attends the quarterbacks in the Morning. The physical part of it – he beats a lot playing and I think that talks a lot about him and you need that kind of person to win trophies.”