The shoes are starting to drop here folks. The NFL rumors have been swirling as we’ve been waiting to see what happens with a late free agent running back market that included Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt. And now we have some actual news as the first two names have reportedly found a home as Dalvin Cook signs with the New York Jets to team up with Aaron Rodgers and Breece Hall, while Zeke Elliott signs with the New England Patriots to play with Mac Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson. Let’s first take a look at the contracts that were reported by Adam Schefter for Dalvin and for Zeke and then we’ll look at the fallout for our fantasy football rankings and potential impact on ADP.
Ezekiel Elliott Contract
Base Salary + Signing Bonus: $4 million
Incentives: $2 million
Combined Max: $6 million
Dalvin Cook Contract
Base Salary + Signing Bonus: $7 million
Incentives: $1.6 million
Combined Max: $8.6 million
Ezekiel Elliott Fantasy Football Impact
The Patriots had visits with multiple backs this offseason including Zeke, Dalvin Cook, and Leonard Fournette. So it’s no surprise that they inevitably signed someone - the question was always what kind of back would they sign. Guys like Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, and, especially, Kareem Hunt would have skewed more towards the passing side which would have likely made Rhamondre Stevenson more of an early down guy. Instead, Zeke Elliott comes in to likely help spell Rhamondre for short yardage and goal line work while Rhamondre will likely operate in an expanded version of the James White role.
Based on our composite ADP, Zeke is currently going pick 159 on average which puts him around RB54 - we’ll likely see this come up but the question is how far. We currently see backs in the early down half of split roles like David Montgomery, AJ Dillon, Brian Robinson, Jamaal Williams etc. going in the round 7-9 range so we could see Zeke climb to near that level. Rhamondre Stevenson is currently being drafted at pick 28 overall as the RB9 so he’s likely to drop. I imagine guys like Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Joe Mixon will get ahead as things settle out so he’ll likely end up in the range where we see guys like Aaron Jones, Kenneth Walker, and Dameon Pierce come off the board in rounds 4-5.
Zeke Elliott Current ADP: RB54, Pick 159, Round ~14
Projected ADP Range: Rounds
Rhamondre Stevenson Current ADP: RB9, Pick 28, Round 3
Projected ADP Range: Rounds 4-5
Dalvin Cook Fantasy Football Impact
This one honestly makes all the sense in the world if you’ve been paying attention to what is going on. Here’s what we said back in June back when Dalvin Cook was released about potential landing spots.
New York Jets - Rumors have linked Dalvin Cook to the New York Jets as well, who have gone all in this year with 39 year old quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With Breece Hall recovering from a knee injury, they might want to load up.
And load up they did. Now Breece Hall can be eased back in fully from his knee injury without having to be rushed at all while the former NFC North foes team up and chase a title in New York. Breece Hall’s ADP should honestly take a monster hit here as there’s really no need for them to rush him back or give him a big role. I personally wouldn’t draft him until after guys like Miles Sanders, Cam Akers, Rachaad White, or James Conner are off the board as they are currently looking at pretty sizable roles. Even with Alvin Kamara missing three games it becomes a tough decision. So his ADP probably goes from its current spot in rounds 3-4 to rounds 5-7. Dalvin was already being drafted with the idea that he was going to land somewhere where he would get a sizable chunk of work so his ADP likely isn’t impacted by much - though him landing on a team with a back coming off an injury should give him a little bit of a boost at least. The real question is whether we should be taking Dalvin Cook BEFORE Breece Hall now - for me, the answer is yes.
Dalvin Cook Current ADP: RB31, Pick 82, Round 7
Projected ADP Range: Rounds 5-7
Breece Hall Current ADP: RB13, Pick 37, Rounds 3-4
Projected ADP Range: Rounds 5-7