Healthy Ezekiel Elliott 'a keystone player' for Cowboys (2022)

National Football League

July 27

By David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer

OXNARD, Calif. — Ezekiel Elliott was at least briefly worried about his knee.

For a month or more during the lengthy offseason, the Dallas Cowboys' workhorse running back was concerned that his PCL, injured back near the midpoint of the 2021 season, wasn't bouncing back the way he'd hoped.

"I was a little worried at the beginning of the offseason, like, ‘Dang, this thing still kind of feels a little iffy,'" Elliott told reporters at training camp Wednesday. "But I'd say probably a month or two into the offseason, a month or two getting back into work. I'd say by the time OTAs hit, I was back 100."

Will Ezekiel Elliott return to form?

On a scale of 1 to 10, Skip Bayless rates how close Zeke Elliott will be to being the best running back in the NFL this season.

A clean bill of health is big news, both for the Cowboys and for Elliott.

Let's start with the obvious. Elliott suffered the injury in Week 4 against Carolina and was never again the same caliber runner with any consistency. Through the first five weeks of last season, he rushed for 452 yards and an average of 5.1 yards per carry.

(Video) 'Getting that confidence back' | Ezekiel Elliot hits the practice field

The rest of the way, across 12 more games, he managed just 550 yards and a brutal average of just 3.6 yards per carry.

"It definitely limited my burst," Elliott said.

It goes without saying that the Cowboys would benefit from a healthier, more explosive Elliott on the field. But the quiet part of this story is that off the field, Elliott's six-year, $90 million contract starts to look more and more cumbersome when he's not producing at his best level.

Elliott is aware of that. Guys who don't live up to large contracts have a way of becoming cap casualties, and that will be a talking point in 2023 if he struggles. For his part, he said his best bet is to focus on the present rather than worry about the future.

"I think it is a big season, but you can't look too far down the road. Every day, if I focus on having a good day at camp, if I focus on taking it week by week, I think everything will handle itself," he said.

Where Cowboys stack up

Colin Cowherd becomes "Half-Glass-Full Colin" and gives Cowboys fans some optimism heading into the 2022 season. Is this finally Dallas' year?

Make no mistake: the Cowboys are going to give him the opportunity to do that. Running the ball well is going to be a crucial part of any success they enjoy this fall, and their decision-makers know it.

"Zeke Elliott is one of our rocks on this team. He's a keystone player," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. "The communication, his ability to do all the extra little stuff, and those are things I obviously get to look at and be a part of."

Organizationally, there's undoubtedly plenty of faith in Elliott's ability. He says he appreciates that, as well as the value the Cowboys place on the running back position. The story to watch now is how well Elliott repays that faith in 2022.

The Cowboys went through their first practice of training camp Wednesday. Here are a few additional notes from the practice fields.

Slim and trim

(Video) Cooper Rush leads Dak-less Cowboys to 20-17 upset over Joe Burrow's Bengals | NFL | UNDISPUTED

We know the routine. Everyone's in the best shape of his life at the outset of camp.

But in the case of rookie Tyler Smith, the difference is immediately noticeable. Speaking to reporters after his first career training camp practice, Smith mentioned his slimmer figure after a busy month of work.

"I leaned out a lot since minicamp and OTAs," he said. "I can just feel that extra work, just staying in shape and building upon stuff, doing a lot of O-line-specific work and staying in the playbook."

Smith spent June and July working with Duke Manyweather, an independent offensive line coach based in the Dallas area. During that time, he got the chance to work with veteran NFL linemen such as Terron Armstead and Trey Smith.

From the looks of it, the extra work should serve him well. Smith spent Wednesday rotating with Connor McGovern in the starting left guard spot. It'll be fun to see how much the coaching staff puts on him and how quickly.

Running start

It was strange to see the defense's best play of the day come from No. 3 — a number typically associated with backup quarterbacks and kickers. That was about the time everyone remembered that Anthony Brown switched to No. 3 during the offseason, just in time to watch him score a touchdown.

Dak Prescott looked for rookie receiver Jalen Tolbert on a comeback route during the offense's two-minute drill. Brown deftly stepped in front of it and was off to the races.

"We're trying to make a statement across the league," cornerback Trevon Diggs said afterward.

Fun with matchups

Dan Quinn has made life difficult for anyone trying to track his defensive depth chart. The Cowboys' defensive coordinator does plenty of mixing and matching during the course of practice, to the point that notions of "first-team" and "second-team" feel silly.

That said, it was fun to see some of the combinations Quinn threw out there during a spirited team session.

Jerry Jones needs a Super Bowl win

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Nick Wright explores what it would take for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to be a serious threat in the playoffs.

As might be expected, Micah Parsons lined up all over the field, splitting time in the middle of the defense, as well as rushing off both sides of the line. With Parsons spending time on the edge, DeMarcus Lawrence kicked inside on at least a couple of occasions.

Along with Lawrence, there was plenty of rotation at defensive tackle between Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa and Trysten Hill.

Much like last season, Quinn also used his safeties plenty. Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson all got a lot of snaps, including at the same time.

In good health

McCarthy wants to be smart with some of his injury concerns, but the vast majority of the Cowboys' roster mixed into Wednesday's work.

Michael Gallup was the team's only starter not to participate. Jabril Cox got into the mix in full-team work, and James Washington just narrowly missed hauling in a deep completion on a long ball from Prescott.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports, providing daily insight and analysis on the NFL’s most visible franchise. Prior to joining FOX, David spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website, DallasCowboys.com. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in producing "Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion" about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State.

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FAQs

Is Ezekiel Elliott good? ›

Elliott finished as RB14 and No. 24 overall in our 2022 running back fantasy rankings for PPR leagues. He's almost perfectly in line with our rankings, making him a solid choice at his ADP.

What is Ezekiel Elliott known for? ›

Ezekiel Elijah Elliott (born July 22, 1995) is an American football running back for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Ohio State, where he earned second-team All-America honors in 2015. Elliott was drafted by the Cowboys fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

How much weight did Ezekiel Elliott loose? ›

FRISCO — Running back Ezekiel Elliott said he took 10 pounds off his six-foot frame in the offseason. He's listed at 226 pounds. “I had to get my suits re-tailored,” he said smiling. Elliott is hopeful the lost weight will make his quicker and that he'll withstand the pounding that comes as the lead back.

Did Ezekiel Elliott gain weight? ›

Ezekiel Elliott has a history of weight gain ever since entering the league with the Dallas Cowboys. In 2017, Randy Moss, claimed that he was worried about how overweight Elliott had gotten. The same problem recurred in 2019, when, prior to the season, he was criticized again for being too bulky. M.G.

Who is the best RB in NFL 2022? ›

  • Nick Chubb. Cleveland Browns · RB. ...
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8 Sept 2022

What rank is Ezekiel Elliott? ›

7 spot in 2021 and a No. 3 spot in 2020.

What is the Elliott net worth? ›

Elliott was named unanimous All-Big Ten in 2015 and was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and the Big Ten Running Back of the Year. During his college career he was also named a second-team All-American and won the Archie Griffin Award and James E.
...
Ezekiel Elliott Net Worth.
Net Worth:$25 Million
Place of Birth:Alton, Illinois
2 more rows

Why was Ezekiel Elliott suspended 6 games? ›

The league's investigation determined that Elliott was violent toward the woman on three separate occasions. In August of this year, Roger Goodell issued a six-game suspension to Elliott. That's the baseline number of games for a first-time domestic violence offender.

What is Dez net worth? ›

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Dez Bryant's net worth can be estimated to be around $4 million.

Has Ezekiel Elliott lost a step? ›

On Wednesday, following the first official practice of Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, the three-time Pro Bowler admitted he lost a step or two as the injury began to really take hold. "I'd say just my burst," he confessed.

How much did Ezekiel Elliott weigh? ›

What is Ezekiel Elliott's height and weight? ›

How tall is Elliott Dallas Cowboys? ›

What does Tony Pollard weigh? ›

What is Leonard fournette weight? ›

Who is the best running back ever? ›

Walter Payton

Nicknamed "Sweetness," Walter Payton is widely considered the greatest all-around running back of all time. He rushed for 16,726 yards which was an NFL record until 2002 when Emmitt Smith passed him. He's also fourth all-time with 110 rushing TDs.

Who is the# 1 running back in the NFL? ›

More Stat Sheets
RankNameRush Yds
1Derrick Henry937
2Jonathan Taylor1811
3Nick Chubb1259
4Dalvin Cook1159
14 more rows

What is Ezekiel Elliott's salary? ›

That veteran is running back Ezekiel Elliott. The former first-rounder signed a six-year, $90 million contract with Dallas back in 2019. According to Over The Cap, Elliott's dead cap hip for 2022 is a gut-wrenching $30 million.

Is Ezekiel Elliott a top 10 running back? ›

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott did not crack the top 10 in ESPN's NFL running back rankings released Tuesday. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler released the list as voted on by 50 anonymous NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players, and Elliott could only muster a place in the honorable mention section.

Who is the best running back for the Dallas Cowboys? ›

The ground unit for Dallas is one of the strongest positions on the roster with two-time league rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard leading the way. Elliott is considered the starter, but Pollard is a starting caliber player, who would be the top running back on most teams throughout the league.

What car does Ezekiel drive? ›

Dallas Cowboys Star Ezekiel Elliot Drives a Dodge Durango Hellcat and We're Not Surprised. What should one of the most explosive and powerful running backs of all time be driving in his spare time?

How rich is Joe Montana? ›

He played most of his legendary career with the San Francisco 49ers, but played his final two years with the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Joe Montana has a net worth of $100 million.

Who is the richest member of Def Leppard? ›

Joe Elliott is the richest member of Def Leppard with his $70 million net worth. He first joined a local band named Atomic Mass. Then the name of the band was changed to Def Leppard. He became the lead singer of the band and was the voice behind all of these great songs of the band.

How rich is Odell Beckham Jr? ›

He later turned out as Pro-Bowl Selection. As of September 2022, Odell Beckham Jr's net worth is $40 Million.
...
Net Worth:$40 Million
Age:29
Born:November 5, 1992
Gender:Male
Height:1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
3 more rows
6 Aug 2022

How rich is Antonio Brown? ›

As of September 2022, Antonio Brown's net worth is approximately $20 Million. What is this? Antonio Tavaris Brown Sr. is an American football wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders of the NFL. Brown was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010.

What Troy Aikman salary? ›

Troy Aikman's Salary

As a commentator, Aikman was earning an estimated $7.5 million annually, which was the highest for a sports commentator. He is set to earn even more now as he penned a new deal with ESPN in February 2022, which will pay him approximately $17 million annually.

When did Zeke tear his ACL? ›

What You Need to Know: Elliott partially tore his right PCL in Week 4 of last season but played through it. He said after the team's playoff loss that he would not need offseason surgery.

Is Ezekiel Elliott injured? ›

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott still feels he has 'something to prove' after injury-hampered season. Just four weeks into the 2021 season, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott suffered what was later revealed to be a partially torn PCL in his knee, an injury that would have ended the season of many players.

What is Zeke Elliott mixed with? ›

Quick Facts:
Full NameEzekiel Elijah Elliott
NationalityAmerican
EthnicityMixed (African American)
EducationJohn Burroughs School Ohio State
HoroscopeCancer
26 more rows
24 Aug 2022

How many carriers does Ezekiel Elliott have? ›

He has 1,650 carries for 7,386 yards, 288 catches for 2,244 yards and has scored 68 touchdowns.

How much is Jerry Jones worth? ›

As of December 2019, Jones' net worth is reported by Forbes to be $8.5 billion, the majority of which can be accounted for as being his ownership stake in the Cowboys who are currently valued by the same publication to be the world's most valuable sports team at $5 billion.

What did Ezekiel Elliott dad do? ›

Who did Holly from DCC fraternize with? ›

The “no fraternization” rule is strict for the cheerleaders, but it gets broken from time to time. One former Cowboys cheerleader tells the story behind her epic encounter with Danny White, in a picture that was quashed for 25 years.

What is Prescott's net worth? ›

Dak Prescott net worth: Dak Prescott is an American professional football player who has a net worth of $40 million.
...
Dak Prescott Net Worth.
Net Worth:$40 Million
Salary:$42 Million
Date of Birth:Jul 29, 1993 (29 years old)
Place of Birth:Sulphur, Louisiana

How many yards does Ezekiel Elliott average per game? ›

Ezekiel Elliott averaged 58.9 rushing yards per game in 2021. StatMuse has season-level data for rushing yards per game going back to the 1932 season.

Is Tony Pollard a RB2? ›

Heading into the 2022 NFL season, Pollard profiles as a strong RB2 in fantasy drafts and a potential option that looks to have an ADP in or around the 'Dead Zone.

How much does Tony Pollard make a year? ›

Contract: Pollard is entering the fourth and final year of his 4-year/$3.2 million rookie contract that began in 2019.

Who wore number 51 for the Dallas Cowboys? ›

Dave Manders
No. 51
Undrafted:1962
Career history
Dallas Cowboys (1962)* Toledo Tornadoes (1963) Dallas Cowboys (1963–1974)
* Offseason and/or practice squad member only
17 more rows

How tall is Lenny fournette? ›

How much did Leonard Fournette weigh in 2021? ›

Leonard Fournette is back in shape after putting on some pounds during the offseason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back weighed 245 pounds when he reported to training camp Tuesday, per Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus.

What is Leonard Fournette height and weight? ›

Did the Cowboys get rid of Zeke Elliott? ›

Elliott is under contract with the Cowboys through the 2026 season after signing a six-year, $90-million contract extension in September of 2019 that gave him $50 million guaranteed.

What is the Elliott net worth? ›

Elliott was named unanimous All-Big Ten in 2015 and was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and the Big Ten Running Back of the Year. During his college career he was also named a second-team All-American and won the Archie Griffin Award and James E.
...
Ezekiel Elliott Net Worth.
Net Worth:$25 Million
Place of Birth:Alton, Illinois
2 more rows

What is Ezekiel Elliott's salary? ›

That veteran is running back Ezekiel Elliott. The former first-rounder signed a six-year, $90 million contract with Dallas back in 2019. According to Over The Cap, Elliott's dead cap hip for 2022 is a gut-wrenching $30 million.

Which NFL division has best running backs? ›

The AFC North has the best overall running back group in the NFL, as this division had three of the top four rushers last year.

Who is the running back for Dallas Cowboys? ›

Dallas Cowboys

Who are the running backs in the NFC West? ›

He did that in 11 games.
  • No. 2: Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks. ...
  • No. 3: James Conner, Arizona Cardinals. ...
  • No. 4: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams. ...
  • No. 5: Darrel Williams, Arizona Cardinals. ...
  • No. 6: Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams. ...
  • No. 7: Jeff Wilson, San Francisco 49ers. ...
  • No. 8: Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks. ...
  • No.
18 Jul 2022

Will the Cowboys keep Zeke? ›

Dallas Cowboys Will 'Go as Zeke Goes,' Says Jerry Jones of Ezekiel Elliott. Said Jones of Zeke: "He's very capable of being everything we've ever wanted him to be." FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys' commitment to Ezekiel Elliott might bend next offseason, when there is an escape hatch in his contract.

How much is Ezekiel Elliott's contract with the Dallas Cowboys? ›

Elliott, 27, inked a six-year extension in 2019 worth $90 million at an average of $15 million per year. The $90 million total remains tops among NFL backs, per Over the Cap, and his yearly average is tied for second.

When can Cowboys cut Ezekiel Elliott? ›

Insider believes Cowboys will cut Ezekiel Elliott after 2022: RB's contract has been 'such an albatross' Ezekiel Elliott has been a mainstay with the Dallas Cowboys offense for six years, but one report suggest the upcoming seventh season may be the last.

What car does Ezekiel drive? ›

Dallas Cowboys Star Ezekiel Elliot Drives a Dodge Durango Hellcat and We're Not Surprised. What should one of the most explosive and powerful running backs of all time be driving in his spare time?

How rich is Joe Montana? ›

He played most of his legendary career with the San Francisco 49ers, but played his final two years with the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Joe Montana has a net worth of $100 million.

Who is the richest member of Def Leppard? ›

Joe Elliott is the richest member of Def Leppard with his $70 million net worth. He first joined a local band named Atomic Mass. Then the name of the band was changed to Def Leppard. He became the lead singer of the band and was the voice behind all of these great songs of the band.

Who is the highest paid RB in the NFL? ›

The Tennessee Titans have reworked superstar running back Derrick Henry's contract, making him the highest-paid player at the position for the 2022 NFL season. Henry's salary jumps from $12 million to $14 million, NFL Network reported.

Who is the highest paid NFL player? ›

Contract Value
  • Patrick Mahomes. KC, QB. $450,000,000.
  • Josh Allen. BUF, QB. $258,034,000.
  • Russell Wilson. DEN, QB. $242,588,236.
  • Kyler Murray. ARI, QB. $230,500,000.
  • Deshaun Watson. CLE, QB. $230,000,000.

How much does Tom Brady make? ›

The quarterback's new contract with the network will reportedly be the most lucrative in sports television in history. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Brady has agreed to a 10-year, $375 million contract with Fox, earning him an average of $37.5 million annually.

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