So, Bill Belichick went out and got Ezekiel Elliott. As first reported Monday, the New England Patriots are expected to sign the former Dallas Cowboys star running back to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million.
While the move either excites fans or have them skeptical as to whether Elliott has something left in his motor, it’s an intriguing signing because Belichick is a fan of the player and in his projected role with the Patriots, Elliott seems to be in the right situation at this point in his career.
Could Patriots signing Ezekiel Elliott spark a revival similar to Corey Dillon?
Although not as extravagant as the New York Jets signing top free agent Dalvin Cook, Elliott still has some star power Belichick could tap into like how he brought in Corey Dillion back in the early 2000’s. Like Elliott, Dillon was nearing the end of his career and needed some rejuvenation.
Dillion got that in New England along with a Super Bowl ring. And like Elliott, Dillon was brought to New England as a complement to a younger running back talent. Back then it was Laurence Maroney, right now it is Rhamondre Stevenson. But what Dillion did with the Patriots back in 2004 at the age of 30 should give Patriots fans a reason to be more optimistic.
In 15 games with the Patriots, Dillon rushed for 1,635 yards with 12 touchdowns after coming off a down season with the Cincinnati Bengals in which he rushed for just 541 yards. There was all reason to believe Dillon was on the decline of his career, but Belichick sparked some rejuvenation in him.
Will Ezekiel Elliott follow a similar path?
Well, one thing is clear, Belichick is a big fan of Elliott which should hype up the player in a similar fashion.
Former Patriots running back James White solidified Belichick’s admiration of Elliott during an appearance on SiriusXM, revealing how much his former coach would rave over Zeke when the two teams squared off.
"“I know Bill Belichick has talked about some of the best backs in the league and I know he’s a big fan of Zeke. Whenever we would compete against those guys, he would always talk about how much he wanted to have him on his roster,” White told SiriusXM, via Mike Reiss X (formerly known as Twitter)."
Now Belichick has his man which makes that Week 4 matchup between the Patriots and Cowboys even more intriguing.
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But the bigger question or questions is can and Elliott make a big impact in New England?
In sharing the rock with Tony Pollard last season with the Cowboys, Elliott still rushed for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns. At just 28 years old, he is also just two seasons removed from a 1,000-yard season. If anything, Elliott should thrive as a power back in the red zone. Like Dillon, he makes the Patriots power game that much more dynamic and dangerous as long as the offensive line is healthy and solid.
Again, with Stevenson emerging as a top back in the league, the veteran running back won’t have a ton of pressure on him, but the change in scenery should be enough to inspire another solid season out of Ezekiel Elliott.
It doesn’t have to be a 1,000-yard rushing season, but if he can contribute in ways that makes Stevenson that much better, this could go down as one of Belichick’s classic moves. He is due for one of those as the Patriots are due for a winning season.