Ezekiel Elliott turns 27 in July, an age when most racers start to fade.
Based on his stats from last season, some people would argue that he’s already reached that point.
You are wrong.
And that’s one of the reasons Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was so vocal in his support for Elliott this week.
“I want Zeke on my team,” Jones told reporters at the NFL scouting combine.
“You talk about playing through some injuries and he’s a competitor. I think he is a very good rider, I think he will help us win.
“Obviously his contract, his money is guaranteed. He is going to be here.
Elliott will earn $12.4 million this season, but that’s not the only reason he’s on the list.
Before he partially tore his posterior cruciate ligament, Elliott was everything the Cowboys wanted in a running back.
Just look at the numbers.
In his first four seasons, Elliott averaged 292 carries for 1,351 yards and 10 touchdowns per year.
He averaged 96.5 yards per game and 4.6 per carry, while amassing 26 100-yard games.
In the first five games of 2021, Elliott gained 452 yards on 85 carries with five touchdowns.
That’s an average of 90.4 yards per game and 5.3 per carry.
He had two 100-yard games.
He basically hit his career averages last season until he got hurt.
After the injury, Elliott gained 550 yards and averaged 3.6 yards per carry with five touchdowns.
He’s gained more than 52 yards once in the team’s last 11 games, and that was an 87-yard performance in Week 17 to finish the season with 1,002 yards.
Bottom line: Another disappointing season means once again Elliott must dedicate himself to proving the critics wrong.
He did it before the 2021 season, and he was on track to have a breakout season until injuries intervened.
Elliott is a proud player and he will take the same approach this offseason.
If he doesn’t get hurt, he’ll give the Cowboys a season to remember.
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Ezekiel Elliott: Is the Cowboys running back reaching his final stage in the NFL?