Fans blame Ezekiel Elliott after Austin Ekeler’s concerning comments about RBs in NFL – “Zeke’s contract ruined RB salaries”

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With running backs like Ezekiel Elliott remaining free agents, Austin Ekeler has made his views clear about the position he plays and how it is viewed in the NFL.

This offseason has been hard for running backs and has seen the likes of Zeke and Dalvin Cook released and struggle to find a team. Today also brought the news that Joe Mixon has taken a pay cut to remain with the Cincinnati Bengals.

This has brought a strong reaction from Austin Ekeler. The Los Angeles Chargers running back made comments that seem to be indicative of what the running back community is feeling in the NFL.

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He remarked that just because of his position, some second-choice wide receivers are being paid more than him.

The NFL Reddit community reacted to this comment from the Chargers running back and they had some theories why it has come to this.

One of the thoughts given was that pricey running backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley did not live up to their expectations when they signed for big money. That has forced teams to re-evaluate if they want to pay veterans for that position. Others lamented such a lack of focus on the running game.

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Here are some of the comments:

The conundrum in categorizing running backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Austin Ekeler

The likes of Austin Ekeler are not just invaluable in the running game, they are also instrumental in passing plays. Last year, Ekeler had 107 receptions, which was the fifth-highest in the league. His 18 touchdowns also led the league.

But the market is not giving value to this dual threat and is paying pure receivers more. Players like San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey might find themselves in a similar situation.

It seems as if running backs are all being unfairly put into the same category. A comparison of Ezekiel Elliott and Austin Ekeler illustrates this. In seven seasons, Zeke had 12 receiving touchdowns and 333.7 receiving yards per season. Ekeler has 574.4 receiving yards per season and 29 receiving touchdowns in just six years.

Hence, Austin Ekeler is a higher threat in the passing game than Ezekiel Elliott, who mainly excelled in the running game. Zeke has a 1,180.3 rushing yards per season average, compared to 621.2 for Ekeler. In fact, the Chargers running back has never had a season of more than 1,000 rushing yards.

Therefore, the term running back can mean a variety of players. Maybe it is time to bring back the halfback and fullback distinction to fairly compensate dual-threat running backs.

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