Patriots signing three-time Pro Bowler Ezekiel Elliott to one-year deal
Ezekiel Elliott took his sweet time to decide where he’d continue his playing career, but the 28-year-old appears to have made up his mind. The two-time NFL rushing leader and three-time Pro Bowler is set to sign a one-year deal for up to $6 million with the New England Patriots. A few other teams reportedly had interest in signing the former Dallas Cowboys star, but Elliott wanted to play for Bill Belichick.
DraftKings Sportsbook had New England listed at +6500 to win the Super Bowl before the Elliott news broke, and the Patriots are still +6500 now. That doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering the way running backs are currently valued around the NFL, but Elliott should make New England a better football team — even if it’s just on a week-to-week basis.
Elliott’s rushing efficiency has taken a hit over the last couple of years. His yards per carry was down to 3.8 in 2022, despite being 4.5 or higher in each of his first four seasons in the league. Last season was also the first year in which he failed to reach the 4.0 yard-per-carry mark. That’s life at the running back position, where it seems like players fall off a cliff once they turn 27 or 28. But Elliott should still be able to help the Patriots quite a bit.
New England is very high on Rhamondre Stevenson, who rushed for 1,040 yards and five touchdowns in 2023 while also catching 69 passes for 421 yards. But the Patriots don’t want to give Stevenson an unmanageable workload. That is why New England often utilized Damien Harris as a short-yardage option, but the former Alabama running back signed with the Buffalo Bills in the offseason.
Elliott now takes over the role as the between-the-tackles bruiser for the Patriots. That’s somewhere that Elliott can excel, especially down by the goal line. He has rushed for 22 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Elliott is also one of the best pass-blocking running backs in football, which is something that surely didn’t go unnoticed for Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
New England’s regular season win total currently sits as 6.5, with some heavy juice to the Over. It’ll be interesting to see if Elliott can help this team exceed expectations. But it is worth noting that Belichick hasn’t won fewer than seven games since his first year with the Patriots, which was all the way back in 2000.
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