Since it was reported that Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot may holdout of training camp if he does not receive a new contract, speculation of what the next steps could be has been interesting. Paying running backs big money has fallen out of fashion in the NFL. Even the Cowboys have been known to move off of aging running backs before they start reaching their decline. Just ask the likes of DeMarco Murray and Herschel Walker. However, the Elliott is different because he’s still just 23 years old. He has taken up a massive workload during his few seasons in the NFL, but should still have at least several good years left. That hasn’t stopped the likes of Fox Sports Analyst Colin Cowherd from lobbying that the Cowboys trade the star RB.
While trading a superstar player at just 23 years old seems insane, don’t forget that Elliott has run into trouble off the field a couple of time already. It’s true that young guys make stupid mistakes, but the Cowboys might decide that Elliott isn’t worth the headache. A running back can have a huge impact on a team’s success, but it’s been proven that you don’t need to invest a ton of money and a first-round draft pick to find a solid contributor at the position. It may sound exceedingly unlikely that the Cowboys could trade Elliott, but nobody thought the Oakland Raiders would trade Khalil Mack or that the New York Giants would trade Odell Beckham Jr. Speaking of the Raiders, there’s been speculation that they could be a potential landing spot for Elliott. However, it may not be the best idea for the Raiders to bite.
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The Raiders Should Not Consider Trading for Ezekiel Elliott
The idea of adding Elliott to a team that has Antonio Brown is certainly enticing. That would easily give the Raiders one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL. The Raiders seems more willing to hand out massive contracts to offensive players than they do defensive player as evident by the unwillingness to give Khalil Mack a contract but giving Antonio Brown and Trent Brown massive contracts. If the Raiders added Elliott, they would likely have to make him the highest-paid RB in the NFL. That would mean the Raiders would have the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, the second-highest-paid WR and the highest-paid RB. That fact alone should keep the Raiders out of the Elliott market.
That’s not to mention that the Raiders already used a first-round pick to acquire an exciting young RB in Josh Jacobs. Jacobs didn’t get nearly the usage in college that Elliott did so he could have much more career longevity. Plus, he’s barely going to cost anything over the next four years. Jacobs’ ceiling may not be as high as Elliott’s, but he’s an extremely high-character guy, whereas Elliott has made a couple of bad headlines over his short career.
Perhaps the biggest disqualifier for a potential Elliott acquisition is that he has been accused of domestic violence and also been suspended due to that accusation. Raiders owner Mark Davis is one of the toughest owners on domestic violence in the NFL. Raiders legend Fred Biletnikoff, who is still involved with the team, lost a daughter because of domestic violence and started Tracey’s Place of Hope in honor of her. Davis and the Raiders are big supporters of Biletnikoff’s foundation so while Elliott has yet to be convicted of anything, Davis will probably veto any move for him.
At first glance, it may sound exciting to add a player Elliott’s caliber to the roster, but the simple fact is that the Raiders just don’t need him. The optics aren’t great and it would make Mark Davis look like a hypocrite. Adding Elliott may launch the Raiders from up and coming team to legit playoff contenders, but the team should remain patient and let Jacobs develop into the Raiders’ running back of the future.