By: Ryan Cooley
The Cowboys and Chargers have recently come into contract disputes with their pro bowl RBs. Melvin Gordon made it clear to the Chargers, either sign me or trade me. Zeke hasn’t threatened a trade but looks to be resorting to a holdout during training camp.
I keep hearing that elite RBs are not essential to teams winning. While I won’t argue that point because I believe as long as you have a capable back and top 10 QB, you have a real chance at success. However, I think it ridiculous for people to say they are not important.
The Steelers were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders last season but ended up missing the playoffs. The only significant difference between the 2017 and 2018 Steelers was the absence of Le’Veon Bell.
This leaves the question, should the teams pay their star-studded RBs?
Gordon has quietly become one of the best backs in the league, and some may argue a top 3 RB. Many view Kamara and McCaffery as the best dual-threat backs in the league. Yet, Gordon beat both of them in yds/carry (5.1) and yds/rec last season (9.8).
Statistics can say all they want about how Gordon is not that important to the Chargers, but sometimes the eye test is the best method. My eyes tell me that the Chargers need Gordon. Last season, it seemed almost every big play by the Chargers happened when Gordon had the ball in his hands.
Sure the Chargers have Rivers, Allen, and a good defense, but trading away half of your offense is not always the right answer. Once again, the Steelers didn’t pay Bell. They still had Ben, AB, Juju, and a good defense, but missed the playoffs.
Zeke, in my opinion, is the best RB in the league and is by far the most important piece in the Cowboys offense. While I think Gordon should get paid, Zeke without a doubt should get the money he wants. The Cowboys are 28-12 with Zeke and only 4-4 without him. Dak is not a QB that can lead a Zeke-less team to success.
Dak without Zeke is an entirely different QB. His completion percentage drops from 67.8% to 62.1%. His TD-INT is 53-17 with Zeke and only 19-10 without. Finally, his passer rating falls from 99.5 to 88.4.
I understand that the Cowboys have a lot of players to pay, but letting go of their greatest asset makes no sense.
While I do not believe teams need an elite RB to be successful, I won’t say that they are not valuable. Both the Chargers and Cowboys need their RBs. Rivers is 37 years old and who knows when he’ll start falling off a cliff. As for Dak, the numbers speak for themselves when Zeke is not on the field.