After a big game from Tony Pollard, Liz Loza and Matt Harmon discuss Ezekiel Elliott's future with the Cowboys.
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LIZ LOZA: Obviously, after Tony Pollard, who's been the better running back over the past few weeks as Zeke has dealt with this calf injury, Zeke's finally out, finally Pollard gets the volume. 69 yards and two touchdowns. But what do we make of Zeke now? I mean, there's a contract here. There's money at stake--
MATT HARMON: Yup.
LIZ LOZA: I mean, Dallas has a lot of money problems, too. Like, I don't know how-- how the Boys back themself out of this corner.
MATT HARMON: I have no idea, too. And the funny thing about Pollard's day is he also was a guy that popped really early, then it seemed like he wasn't doing anything in the third quarter-- very weird-- but then he comes back, has some big plays to the game. Also was a big asset in the passing game as well. Nine targets, six catches for over 60 yards.
And, I mean, the Zeke contract is just-- it's about as bad as it gets. It's about as bad as, like, the Wentz deal and the fact that it hasn't even-- the extension part of it hasn't even started. They signed him to a six year, $90 million contract. That contract, I think, kicks in-- the one, two, three, four, five, six. Yeah. The sixth-- that sixth year starts next year in 2021. So they're not getting out of that thing for a little bit.
I mean, look, teams can do a lot of creative stuff. We'll see. But I would-- I'd bet money that Zeke's on the roster in Dallas next year. And I would bet he's not going to be on a single one of my fantasy teams. I get it. You can write up a lot of this to injuries for Zeke individually. Also, obviously, Dak Prescott, that was a big injury. He's probably having a better fantasy season if they didn't go through a long period where they screwed around with Ben DiNucci and Gilbert and all that or whatever.
If Andy Dalton had played solidly just throughout, maybe we're having another conversation. Too, obviously, the offensive line is different as well. But again, it's a tough look that the best backfield day for the Dallas Cowboys comes when Zeke is not involved.
LIZ LOZA: I mean, they give him generational talent money, right? Like, you're mentioning the offensive line. Well, let me think of another offense with a bad line in injuries. How about, oh, the Tennessee Titans. Like, they had some tough, tough calls to their offensive line. And talk about, like, a quarterback that had question marks around him. Ryan Tannehill was not considered-- like, he's consistently proven himself. You wrote an "I don't care" article midseason about people finally having to get on board with the Titans passing game. And so I think that there are a lot of excuses that we can make for Zeke, but none of them rectify the contract. And moreover, the fact that the Cowboys took away from their defense in order to make room for this offense.
MATT HARMON: It's gross. And it's-- it's just as if they tried to string two eras of Cowboys football together. You know, in one way it's the-- it's the old ground and pound team that they were when Zeke was, like, the finishing touch on the team when they had this awesome offensive line. They'd just plowed this awesome season for DeMarco Murray a few years ago. They add Zeke as sort of the cherry on top of that, which is really the only way you could have justified, like, taking him as high as they did in the draft, is like, well, this is the finishing piece.
That era had clearly passed. It looked like they were moving towards this flinging footballs around with Dak Prescott and all these wide receivers, but they didn't quite make the change there. Also, we just know how-- look, we know how Dallas operates. They-- they still thought that they could become that team again, based on hubris, in the middle of this season when it's clear that they could not. Just-- it's a mess. And they overvalue their own stars and I think they overvalued Zeke. And I tell you, again, I will not be overvaluing him in fantasy next year. I think there's going to be a lot of more appealing picks in round one than Zeke Elliott.