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Patriots set to sign Ezekiel Elliott

By Jared Smola | Updated on Mon, 14 Aug 2023, 5:09 PM EDT
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The Patriots are set to sign RB Ezekiel Elliott to a one-year deal worth "up to" $6 million, NFL Network reports. We'll see about the actual details of the contract but doubt the base value is anywhere close to $6 million. Elliott's name is much bigger than his game at this point. The 28-year-old averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per carry last season, ranking 43rd among 48 qualifiers in NFL Next Gen Stats' Rush Yards Over Expected Per Attempt. His usage and production plummeted in the passing game, too. Elliott caught just 17 of 23 targets for 92 yards (5.4 YPC) and 0 TDs. The Patriots have been flirting with free-agent RBs for a while now -- seemingly in large part because depth RBs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris have failed to emerge. The Elliott signing is more about those guys than lead RB Rhamondre Stevenson. Zeke's arrival adds some risk to Stevenson's 2023 fantasy outlook. But Stevenson was more effective by basically any metric last year -- as a runner and pass-catcher -- and should remain the Patriots' clear backfield leader. Elliott looks more like a Stevenson handcuff than standalone fantasy option. But we'll keep an eye on New England's plans.

Update: Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the deal carries $3 million in base salary, $1 million in signing bonus, and incentives that can take it to $6 million.

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Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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