The dust had not even settled Friday upon news that the NFL is suspending Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games and the effects of his potential absence were calculated by many.
It’s too early to know much for certain, as Elliott and his representatives quickly made it clear that they’re going to appeal his suspension for violation of the league’s conduct policies, but there’s been enough time to look into the ramifications of his absence however it plays out.
This much is clear: every game Elliott might miss because of suspension would cost him nearly $100,000 in salary, and he may have to pay back the Cowboys even more than that.
In the NFL, player salaries are spread out over the 17-week regular season, and as he’s scheduled for a salary of $1.584 million, each game missed will cost him a pre-tax paycheck of $93,176.47.
Also, Elliott might have to pay back the Cowboys about $240,000 in signing-bonus money he has received for each game he misses. There are fuzzy details herein, reported by ESPN.com’s Todd Archer.
Under terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association, players suspended under the drug and performance-enhancing policies automatically have to repay their teams. Whether a player suspended under the personal conduct policy is forced to repay the bonus is at the discretion of the team.
It also seems certain that with Elliott’s likely absence, for however many games, at least one running back who wasn’t going to be busy -- or even employed -- will have a chance to show his wares. Perhaps more than one.
I'm not saying Ezekiel Elliott is bad. But I'd put money on Dallas' o-line being able to make any RB a 1,000-yard rusher.— Paul Hagan (@thepaulhagan) August 11, 2017
Cowboys fans seem relieved by their team’s considerable depth at the position.
Darren McFadden, who rushed for 1,089 yards in 2015 despite being plagued by injury early in the season, figures to be the lead back.
Last season, Alfred Morris -- who has three times in his NFL career has rushed for more than 1,000 yards -- was the No. 3 back behind Elliott and McFadden, but Morris’ roster security was threatened previously by the emergence of Rod Smith, who led Dallas in rushing in the first preseason game.
Here's Ezekiel Elliiott vs Alfred Morris by X defenders in the box: pic.twitter.com/JYEFDruy1n— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) August 11, 2017
Cowboys will be fine 😂 The o-line does most of the work anyways. Alfred Morris will produce. I can drive a truck through the holes they make— Juice (@Ronnie23Parham) August 11, 2017
When you find out Ezekiel Elliot is suspended for 6 games but at least you have Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris pic.twitter.com/lhfmsju4L1— kyle roach (@kyle_roach) August 11, 2017
Smith is more valuable as a special teams player than Morris, and that’s typically a critical consideration when team officials consider third- and fourth running backs for the roster.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, things have gone bananas with the news about Elliott, as Bleacher Report has written that several houses have suspended betting on the Cowboys.
If you’re a fantasy footballer, you join a whole lot of others who are adjusting their thinking about now as an almost certain top-10 pick is not off the board, but carrying an asterisk.
Shame on any fantasy leagues that have already held their drafts.
Where does @EzekielElliott's six game suspension now put him in your fantasy draft?— Armchair Fantasy (@ACAAFantasy) August 11, 2017
What are your thoughts?