Ezekiel Elliott Explains Need to Be Highest-Paid Running Back in the NFL

Now that Ezekiel Elliott has put pen to paper and rejoined the Dallas Cowboys, he is now eligible to answer questions about skipping training camp and the preseason as part of his holdout. Unsurprisingly, there is a figurative ton that must be lobbed in his direction. The Cowboys star running back met with more than 50 reporters on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the record $90 million deal that he had inked in the wee hours of the morning.

As expected, one of the most pressing questions posed to Elliott was why he turned down the initial offer that would have made him the second-highest-paid running back in the league behind Todd Gurley. After all, this deal would have still significantly boosted his salary and guaranteed his future with the team. So why didn't Elliott take the deal? Basically, it all boils down to how he views himself.

"Why? Because I think I'm the best," Elliott told reporters on Wednesday.

This may sound like a cocky response to some, but it actually fits well with something that Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said during an appearance on The Shop with LeBron James and Maverick Carter. During this discussion, Hopkins was asked about a time that NFL Films caught him telling a coach with the Cardinals that he knew he was the best receiver in the league. Why would he say that when the cameras were on?

As Hopkins explained, you have to have the mindset that you are the best in order to truly find success in the league. The stats may not support that argument initially, but you have to believe in yourself. Why else would you be going out and fighting every single day?


Whether or not Elliott agrees with Hopkins' viewpoint is unknown, but he made it very clear during his press conference that he wanted to be paid like the best in the league because he felt like he fit that description.

Of course, the bigger responsibility at this point is for Elliott to go out and justify this deal. He has twice led the league in rushing yards while helping the Dallas Cowboys reach the playoffs, and he will be counted upon to repeat this feat many more times over the next eight seasons. If Elliott can truly produce at the level the team expects while helping them win important games, he will no longer have to face questions about this massive contract extension.