The likely pending suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott make bring backup Darren McFadden back into the light. He's seen here running past Jordan Hicks of the Eagles in an January 1 game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Elliott fallout: Suspension to cost Cowboys’ RB, benefit others, and change Las Vegas and fantasy football

The dust had not even settled Friday upon news that the NFL is suspending Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games and the effects of his potential absence were calculated by many.

It’s too early to know much for certain, as Elliott and his representatives quickly made it clear that they’re going to appeal his suspension for violation of the league’s conduct policies, but there’s been enough time to look into the ramifications of his absence however it plays out. 

This much is clear: every game Elliott might miss because of suspension would cost him nearly $100,000 in salary, and he may have to pay back the Cowboys even more than that.

In the NFL, player salaries are spread out over the 17-week regular season, and as he’s scheduled for a salary of $1.584 million, each game missed will cost him a pre-tax paycheck of $93,176.47.

Also, Elliott might have to pay back the Cowboys about $240,000 in signing-bonus money he has received for each game he misses. There are fuzzy details herein, reported by’s Todd Archer.

Under terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association, players suspended under the drug and performance-enhancing policies automatically have to repay their teams. Whether a player suspended under the personal conduct policy is forced to repay the bonus is at the discretion of the team.

It also seems certain that with Elliott’s likely absence, for however many games, at least one running back who wasn’t going to be busy -- or even employed -- will have a chance to show his wares. Perhaps more than one.

Cowboys fans seem relieved by their team’s considerable depth at the position.

Darren McFadden, who rushed for 1,089 yards in 2015 despite being plagued by injury early in the season, figures to be the lead back.

Last season, Alfred Morris -- who has three times in his NFL career has rushed for more than 1,000 yards -- was the No. 3 back behind Elliott and McFadden, but Morris’ roster security was threatened previously by the emergence of Rod Smith, who led Dallas in rushing in the first preseason game.

Smith is more valuable as a special teams player than Morris, and that’s typically a critical consideration when team officials consider third- and fourth running backs for the roster.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, things have gone bananas with the news about Elliott, as Bleacher Report has written that several houses have suspended betting on the Cowboys.

If you’re a fantasy footballer, you join a whole lot of others who are adjusting their thinking about now as an almost certain top-10 pick is not off the board, but carrying an asterisk.

Shame on any fantasy leagues that have already held their drafts.

What are your thoughts?

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