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Three-Time Pro Bowl RB Ezekiel Elliott Sign $6M Contract With Patriots



Three-Time Pro Bowl RB Ezekiel Elliott Sign $6M Contract With Patriots

The former Cowboys star is supposedly paired with Rhamondre Stevenson by the Patriots to form a potent running back tandem.

The Patriots are making a late splash by signing three-time Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to numerous reports, after lurking around the market for weeks.

The former Cowboys star allegedly visited the Patriots earlier this summer as a free agent, and the team is now adding Elliott to an already understocked running back room. The Patriots opened training camp with five running backs on their 90-man roster, including versatile receiver Ty Montgomery, after cutting free agent addition James Robinson in the spring.

While the team has monitored lead-back Rhamondre Stevenson’s workload this summer, Montgomery has missed much of training camp. Only second-year running backs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, as well as veteran J.J. Taylor, participated in last Thursday night’s preseason opener due to the Pats taking it easy on Stevenson and Montgomery’s injuries.

Although Stevenson is the Patriots’ top running back, the necessity for seasoned veteran depth behind the third-year back was apparently another factor in the decision to get Elliott in the mix. Despite having only combined for 27 touches as rookies, Harris and Strong have demonstrated promise. In contrast, Montgomery has struggled to stay healthy during two training camps.

Regarding Elliott, the former first-round pick was released by Dallas in March with a post-June 1st designation after seven seasons in an effort to save cap space in the wake of the 2022 season’s slump. Elliott has played through knee injuries for the previous two seasons as he entered year five of a six-year contract extension he signed in 2019. The Cowboys started to rely more on backup Tony Pollard, who was franchise tagged by Dallas this offseason, as the veteran running back’s explosiveness started to wane.

The seasoned running back had a career-low 876 rushing yards last season, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, but producing 12 rushing scores as a useful goal-line back. In contrast, despite Elliott being the starter, Pollard made the Pro Bowl with a 5.2 rushing yard average.

Elliott can still be a strong between-the-tackles and short-yardage runner while being a dependable pass protector in blitz pickup, even though it’s fair to suggest Zeke’s greatest days may be behind him. He no longer possesses the same straight-line burst to generate explosive runs or turn the corner on the edge, but he still has enough left to act as Stevenson’s seasoned backup.

In his second season, Stevenson received 279 touches while playing in nearly 66 percent of New England’s offensive snaps last year. This season, the Patriots must find a better method to limit Stevenson’s workload, which is why Elliott is here. Zeke can run the ball between the tackles on first and second downs, which should reduce Stevenson’s workload and free up Rhamondre to continue playing in the passing game with quarterback Mac Jones, where they have a terrific rapport.

According to reports, Elliott was the solid veteran backup the Patriots were looking for to cover Stevenson.

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