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NFL running backs could create new union as separate bargaining unit

Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott

With the direction that the NFL is headed in, running backs are struggling to secure long-term deals that pay them fairly. In an attempt to change the outlook on the position, running backs could create a new union as a separate bargaining unit.

According to reports, there has already been a petition filed by the National Labor Relations Board to create the union. The petition exclaims that the rookie-wage scale is harmful to running backs but are advantageous to quarterbacks.

In football, running backs receive a ton of punishment compared to other positions. Correspondingly, teams will also maximize their window with a running back on his rookie contract. Of course, that same team will be wary of brokering a new deal with the running back in the future with the limited shelf-life at the position.

Currently, Ezekiel Elliott is holding out from the Dallas Cowboys in hopes to land a long-term extension. Elliott is searching for a deal that makes him one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL.

The Cowboys running back is yearning for a deal that provides him insurance for how much he is used in the offense. Last year alone, Elliott touched the ball 381 times—which is nearly 40 percent of the Cowboys offensive touches. As a result, the All-Pro running back believes he deserves an extension that rewards him.

Elliott seems to have his sights set on striking a deal in the same ballpark as Todd Gurley’s current contract. Gurley was given a four-year, $57.5 million extension before the 2018 season; making him the highest-paid at his position.

At the same time though, the Cowboys are interested in offering Elliott a deal that is comparable to what Le’Veon Bell was given this offseason. The New York Jets paid Bell $52 million over the next four seasons.

There are only three running backs in the NFL who will be paid over $10 million in annual salary over the next two seasons. That alone shows that changes need to be made for running backs to be compensated justly.