Running back Ezekiel Elliott is one of the more prominent figures in the NFL’s most valuable team in the Dallas Cowboys. In just his fifth year in the league, he has already made a name for himself and emerged as one of the game’s leading rushers.
Despite playing as a running back in the NFL, his prolific play managed to land him a hefty paycheck from the Cowboys which comprises the majority of his wealth today, along with a handful of sponsorship deals.
Ezekiel Elliott net worth in 2020 (estimate): $23.3 million
According to Forbes, the Illinois native is worth $23.3 million as of 2020. After a stellar collegiate career with Big Ten football powerhouse Ohio State Buckeyes capped off with a national championship victory, he went on to be selected fourth overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft.
In May of 2016, Elliott signed his four-year rookie contract with the Cowboys reportedly worth $24.9 million with a $16.3 million signing bonus. High expectations were instantly set upon him as he was widely regarded as an early favorite for the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He didn’t disappoint and ran a total of 1,631 rushing yards on 322 attempts in his first professional campaign which remains to be his career-best tallies up to this day. As a result of his successful season, Elliott was selected as a first-team All-Pro selection, named as the 2016 NFL rushing yards leader, and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, joining Cowboys teammate Dak Prescott as the first rookie running back and quarterback duo in NFL history to be selected together. He quickly earned the respect of the league when he was ranked seventh by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 as the highest-ranked running back.
The promising start to his playing career abruptly plummeted due to off-field issues. In August of 2017, the league suspended Elliott for the first six games of the 2017 NFL season for violating the personal conduct policy. His suspension stemmed from accusations of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend on five occasions dating back to 2016.
His absence eventually dropped his numbers which led him to fall short of the 1,000 rushing yard mark which caused him to miss out on a Pro Bowl appearance. He managed to bounce back in 2018 where he finished the season with 1,434 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns for his second Pro Bowl appearance and his second career rushing title.
In April of 2019, the Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option on Elliott’s contract. However, Elliott protested and began holding out during training camp due to his demands of a contract extension with the team. On September 4, Elliott was finally able to put pen to paper with a fresh six-year contract with the Cowboys worth $90 million with $50 million guaranteed which secures his services through the 2026 NFL season. His paycheck officially named him the highest-paid running back in the league.
Many scrutinized the Cowboys’ decision to hand him a lucrative paycheck due to the durability of running backs in the NFL. His solid play for the Cowboys during that season earned him the third Pro Bowl selection of his young playing career. The Cowboys previously gave Elliott a $7.5 million signing bonus, as well as a $13 million option bonus prior to the start of the 2020 NFL season.
Despite the recent success, 2020 is turning out to be a different story for Elliott and the Cowboys as they unexpectedly find themselves as a dysfunctional unit even after undergoing a massive roster overhaul during the offseason. Talks have resurfaced once again on Elliott’s big contract and his dismal performance where he’s fumbled as many times than he’s scored a touchdown this season.
Through five years of playing in the league, he has already amassed a total of $48,632,974 in career earnings. He is expected to triple that amount by the time his contract extension expires in 2026.
Most of Elliott’s off-field income is generated from royalties and licensing deals, as one of the NFL’s top merchandise sellers where he ranked fourth-most last season. He also has partnerships with international brands like BioSteel and Nike, as well as being an investor to OnCore Golf, the golf ball and technology company back in 2019.
According to ESPN, after signing his rookie contract with the Cowboys back in 2016, Elliott’s first big purchase was a new home for his parents and two sisters. In the same year, he went on to give John Deere utility vehicles for the Cowboys offensive linemen for providing him space to run his monster numbers. After signing his massive extension in 2019, he immediately donated $100,000 to the Salvation Army in Dallas.
Elliott’s ascend in the league has been marred with a handful of headlines in the early stages of his career. However, he still manages to emerge as one of the league’s premier running backs amidst all the scrutiny.
With his team’s backs against the wall and countless heads serving as a distraction once again this season, the 25-year-old will aim to let his game do the talking and prove that paying a running back well shouldn’t be put into question even in today’s game.