Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco Recruits $70 Million RB: ‘I’m Ready to Compete’

Getty Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco.

With the 2023 NFL Draft officially over, the Kansas City Chiefs might look to free agency once again to round out their roster.

One position they might look to add to via free agency is running back. And among the notable free agents at that position is former Dallas Cowboys star, Ezekiel Elliott.

During a USAA Salute to Service event in Olathe, Missouri on April 27, Chiefs starting running back Isiah Pacheco was asked by Heavy Sports which current or former NFL running backs he enjoys watching and potentially inspire him.

“Ezekiel Elliott, that’s my dog. I’ve been watching him growing up, watched film on him, take [down] details, dropped notes [on his game],” Pacheco told Heavy Sports. “Just finding ways to get better on the field is something I take very personally.”

As for the potential of Elliott joining a team like the defending Super Bowl champions, Pacheco was open to the veteran back joining the Chiefs.

“Hey, I’m with it [Elliott signing with the Chiefs], whatever he makes the decision,” Pacheco said. “I’m willing and I’m ready to compete if he’s ready. So, we’ll see.”

Ezekiel Elliott a Free Agent for First Time in Career

Ezekiel Elliott, 27, entered the NFL as a first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2016 out of Ohio State.  He burst onto the NFL scene with a rookie season in which he accumulated 1,994 all-purpose yards and 16 total touchdowns in 15 games played. Over the course of his rookie contract in Dallas, Elliott registered three 1,000-yard seasons, was named a Pro Bowler three times, and an All-Pro twice according to Pro Football Reference.

In 2019, the Cowboys signed Elliott to a six-year, $90 million contract, which was an incredibly large contract for a running back given the declining value of the position. That’s why it came as no surprise that Elliott’s production never reached a level that was high enough to justify that contract.

Over the following three seasons, Elliott eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards just once (1,002 in 2021).

In April, the Cowboys released Elliott due to his unwillingness to take a “massive” pay cut according to Heavy Sports’ Matt Lombardo. During his time in Dallas, Elliott earned $70.6 million according to Spotrac.

Chiefs Didn’t Address Backfield During Draft

Here is the Chiefs 2023 draft class, which consists of seven players:

  • DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State (No. 32)
  • WR Rashee Rice, SMU (No. 55)
  • OL Wayna Morris, Oklahoma (No. 92)
  • DB Chamarri Conner, Virginia Tech (No. 119)
  • EDGE B.J. Thompson, Stephen F. Austin (No. 166)
  • DT Keondre Coburn, Texas (No. 194)
  • CB Nic Jones, Ball State (No. 250)

Notice that none of the players selected by the Chiefs were running backs. On top of that, Kansas City only signed one back among the undrafted rookies, which was Tulsa’s Deneric Prince.

That means the Chiefs will enter the 2023 season with just Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, La’Mical Perine, and Prince in the backfield. Due to the uncertainty behind Pacheco on the roster, the defending Super Bowl champions could add another veteran into the mix to stir up more competition during the offseason programs, training camp, and preseason.

That’s why Ezekiel Elliott is an option for the Chiefs, albeit an unlikely one. Ultimately it would come down to Kansas City’s interest in him and Elliott’s asking price.

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