The 2020 season has been nothing short of disastrous for the Dallas Cowboys. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott has remained at the forefront of those shortcomings behind his lackluster performance in the least productive year of his career. All that has guided outside criticism in Elliott‘s direction, to which he finally snapped back at his haters.
Ezekiel Elliott’s struggles in the 2020 season
It has been a forgettable year for the Dallas Cowboys in a campaign marred by injuries and inconsistent play.
The same could be said for star running back Ezekiel Elliott as he has struggled to find any stable footing. Beyond Elliott’s declined production, he has had some significant troubles holding onto the football, tying a career-worst six fumbles.
The 25-year-old has recorded more than 100 rushing yards once this season while falling below 50 yards five times. Elliott ranks 12th in rushing yards, tied for 25th in rushing touchdowns (five), 42nd in yards per carry (3.9) despite being sixth in rush attempts (211).
The numbers speak for themselves as they are far below what is expected from one of the league’s best running backs. His lackluster production has also guided much hate in his direction, to which he finally snapped and fired back.
Ezekiel Elliott fires back at haters calling for his job
The porous 2020 campaign has led to much criticism directed toward the Cowboys, with that consistently seeing Ezekiel Elliot being a primary target.
Elliott’s struggles and injuries have pushed forward dialogue from fans now calling for his starting job. According to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the star running back has finally hit a breaking point with his critics.
“At the end of the day, those aren’t the people signing my checks,” Elliott said. “Those aren’t the cats that are making the final decisions. I think there’s a reason they’re not the ones making those decisions. I don’t think it really matters.”
Elliott has heard it all over the last few months due to his disappointing level of production. He may stay away from the outside criticism, but it’s hard to escape it all, especially with his porous play.
He has dealt with the same negative chatter throughout the season but continued to take the high road. However, there comes a point where the criticism becomes too much to look past.
His future in Dallas isn’t in the fans’ hands to decide, which the front office and ownership will make that final decision.
Future in Dallas is out of his control
The 2020 season has been an utter disappointment for many reasons as the Cowboys had Super Bowl expectations before the campaign.
Significant injuries to notable plays took them quickly off that wagon as they fell entirely out of playoff contention. Ezekiel Elliott’s performance has fallen well short of his usual production, but the situation isn’t all on him. Injuries have plagued offensive lines, while the Cowboys haven’t had steady play under center throughout much of the year since Dak Prescott saw his season end prematurely.
Yes, backup Tony Pollard has had his moments in an extended role, but the Cowboys and ownership remain confident in their star running back. Questions concerning Elliott’s future are tied to his contract as he’s in the first year of his six-year, $90 million deal.
Elliott’s extension rolls through the 2026 season, but the dead cap hit drops significantly after 2022. Any move to trade or release him would result in a $6.7 million dead cap hit in 2023 and $2.6 million in 2024. The final two years of the deal don’t possess any salary cap holds for the Cowboys.
There isn’t any chatter of Elliott’s time in Dallas coming to a close, but if he continues on this declined path, he could be out of town much sooner than 2026.