A week ago, it looked like the Cowboys wouldn’t be giving running back Ezekiel Elliott a new contract, and that Elliott happily would show up for training camp without one. Today, that hardly appears to be quite so automatic.
We reported on Monday that Elliott was privately saying he planned to hold out, absent a new deal. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports followed that by explaining that the coming week was critical, and that the situation could go “sideways fast.”
On Saturday, we added that Elliott’s resolved had strengthened to the point that plans apparently were being made to travel out of the country in lieu of showing up for the start of training camp on Thursday. Now, a week later, the issue officially has hit the middle of the mainstream, with Ian Rapoport of the NFL choosing his words carefully but unmistakably confirming that Elliott may indeed be holding out.
Rapoport reports that Elliott hasn’t “firmly decided” to hold out, which can fairly be read to mean that he has decided to hold out, but that the decision isn’t firm or irrevocable. And common sense tells us that a decision to hold out wouldn’t be firm or final, because it’s subject to whatever happens before the plane leaves from Dallas to Oxnard.
As to Elliott, Rapoport boils it down like this: If Elliott doesn’t hold out, “that means contract negotiations are going in the right direction or at least he trusts the Cowboys to get a deal done.” If Elliott does hold out, it means that negotiations haven’t gone well.
So, basically, Elliott is ready to hold out, and at this point whether a holdout won’t happen depends not on anything Elliott does but on what the Cowboys do.