Earlier this week, the Cowboys signed Jaylon Smith to a five-year extension worth $64 million and $35.5 in guaranteed money. All the talk has been surrounding QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper, and of course RB Ezekiel Elliott.
Many Cowboys fans are split on which of the three offensive stars have been the reason for the Cowboys success the last few years. You can rule out Amari Cooper since he was only on the team for nine games. So that leaves Dak and Zeke.
Let me be clear, I'm not opposed to any player getting their money. They're the ones putting their bodies on the line for fans to cheer, not the owners. But since the NFL has a salary cap that teams need to stay under, the money needs divvied up. This is where Zeke is much more valuable (in my opinion) than Dak.
Dak gets credit for the wins and the game-winning drives but he NEEDS pieces around him.
Look at his rookie season back in 2016.
Dak wasn't even supposed to start but due to a Tony Romo injury, he was thrown into the mix along with fellow rookie, Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys lost their season opener before reeling off 11 straight wins and finishing 13-3 and then losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Packers. On the team was Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, an outstanding offensive line, and a defense that gave up more than 25 points only three times during the regular season.
Let's not forget Zeke, who ran for over 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Move to 2017. The Cowboys went from 13-3 to 9-7 with pretty much the same team. They played six games without Zeke who was suspended in the middle of the season. They went 3-3 during that stretch and yes, the first two games they were also missing left tackle Tyron Smith, but the offense was not the same. In the three games they lost (Falcons, Eagles, Chargers who all made the playoffs), they did not score 10 points once. In the three games they won, it was against the bottom dwelling Giants, Redskins, and Raiders. Then the first game Zeke is back, an elimination game against Seattle, Dak throws two interceptions including the go-ahead pick-6 in the third quarter on a poorly overthrown ball to Zeke.
Looking at last year, Dak had more pass than Zeke did rushes in every single game. In games where Dak had less than 10 more throws than Zeke did rushes, the Cowboys went 7-1. In games where Dak threw the ball more than 10 more times more than Zeke had rushes, the Cowboys went 2-5.
Point being is that Dak needs weapons in order to succeed and while Amari is a nice addition, Zeke is the weapon that makes the Cowboys go.