FRISCO - We fully understand the two reasons the name of Ezekiel Elliott is brought up as trade fodder by casual Dallas Cowboys followers.
One, he is coming off a year during which he did not contend for an NFL rushing title, and as he's won two of those, that seems to indicate a decline.
Two, he is pricy - and spending big money on a running back is not exactly in vogue right now.
But trading Ezekiel Elliott, a source tells CowboysSI.com, is simply not the plan - gossip be damned.
And ironically, performance and finance are the exact reasons why.
First, Elliott's base salary this year is $9.6 million, which doesn't sound as outrageous as the "six-year, $90 million'' headline-grabber from two years ago. Additionally, a pre-June 1 trade would trigger a $14.9 million cap charge for the Cowboys. And even a post-June 1 trade would cause the Cowboys to have to eat money - and, of course, would keep them from getting 2021 NFL Draft compensation. And one more thing: Trade Zeke now and his new team will be paying a running back big money.
If it's a bad idea for Dallas to "pay a running back,'' why would it be a good idea for somebody else to do so?
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ProFootballTalk.com writes, "It’s hard not to at least wonder whether former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is thinking about trading for Elliott.'' That's a clever way of tossing crap to see if it will stick, and it's fun, especially as Elliott played for Meyer and is undoubtably an old favorite.
But the Jaguars employ James Robinson, who last year rushed for 1,070 yards and seven TDs on an awful Jags team while being paid $763,000. Jacksonville seems like it has a smart solution at running back.
As we reported via Twitter earlier this week, “There is no present Cowboys plan to ‘trade Zeke.’ There is the consideration of a restructure (creating $6 million of room) that might extend his time with Dallas.”
Hey, if Jacksonville calls, the plan can change. And if the Cowboys have a chance at a big free-agent signing and need more money? That "consideration of a restructure'' will come into play. As it stands, flipping switches on Amari Cooper, Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence (and maybe Tyron Smith) seem like better ideas.
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The Cowboys' optimal plan right now - again, pending that marvelous trade offer from some unknown team - is to get the best out of a 25-year-old Elliott, getting him better than he was a year ago after a bout with COVID, the injury absence of Dak Prescott and maybe some misuse by an offensive coaching staff that needs to go retro to again tap his talents.
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