Cowboys aren’t going to let Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout force their hand

Getty Images

Ezekiel Elliott appears to have drawn a line in the sand. The Cowboys have followed with a line of their own.

A source said the Cowboys are not going to let the star running back’s holdout force their hand. The team is not going to budge on its budget.

The question, then, is: Does Elliott give in, one way or the other?

Elliott didn’t report to training camp Friday with the rest of his teammates. Two days later, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said a rushing champion isn’t necessary to win a Super Bowl.

The Cowboys value Elliott, but the league doesn’t value the position.

“That’s one of the dilemmas at running back is that the league knows that you can win Super Bowls and not have the Emmitt Smith back there or not have Zeke back there,” Jones told CBS DFW. “You’ve got to do all of the things along with having Zeke that allow you to have other players so that you can win the Super Bowl. That’s what we’re going through.”

The Cowboys have Elliott under contract for $3.85 million in 2019 and $9.09 million in 2020 under his fifth-year option. They then could use the franchise tag on him. So, from where the Cowboys stand, what’s the rush?

They have a bigger sense of urgency to sign Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott, both of whom are entering the final year of their deals.

Elliott, though, has made his contract an issue by holding out, and it has the looks of a long holdout with Elliott now headed to Cabo. The Cowboys prepared for the possibility that Elliott’s absence extends into the regular season by reuniting with veteran Alfred Morris.

The Cowboys will have Morris to go with rookie draft picks Tony Pollard and Mike Weber. They would rather have Elliott, but they are taking a stand just like Elliott is taking a stand.

The Cowboys have made what they feel is a “solid” offer to Elliott; Elliott obviously disagrees.

But needing to sign Cooper and Prescott now, and with some key defensive players due for new deals in the next couple of years, the Cowboys are not willing to throw their salary cap into the wind.

“That’s my goal is at the end of the day we figure out a contract for Dak, for Amari, for Zeke, that’s fair,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “That it’s one they can be satisfied with, but at the same time, they’ve got to understand there’s a real salary cap out there and any money that we save in their situations — and it’s not their job to manage the cap, I agree with that; that’s Jerry’s job, my job, Will [McClay’s] job, that’s our job to do — but any money we save is not going in Jerry’s pocket. It’s going to another football player. It’s a hard cap. It’s reality. We have to deal with it, and at some point, the money we spend on these great players is going to keep us, unfortunately, from signing a couple of guys we’d like to keep.”

Jerry Jones said last week that Smith’s holdout with the Cowboys in 1993 was different than Elliott’s holdout now. What’s the same, though, is the Cowboys aren’t going to budge.

After missing two games, both of which the Cowboys lost, Smith finally agreed to the Cowboys’ deal on the table. The four-year, $13 million contract made him the highest-paid at his position at the time, but it was not as much as he wanted.

Smith won NFL MVP honors with 1,486 rushing yards and nine touchdowns that season, and the Cowboys won the Super Bowl.

All’s well that ends well.

The Cowboys can only hope that the Elliott holdout ends as ceremoniously as Smith’s did, but it’s Elliott’s move.

51 responses to “Cowboys aren’t going to let Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout force their hand

  1. This is Erik Dickerson all over again…Can someone please remind Jerra who that team is built around.

  2. I’m a longtime Cowboys fan. Zeke is a good player, but he isn’t worth top running back money. Too many bone-head off the field issues. He is one away from sitting out 16 games. Zeke, stay in Mexico. They have better players they need to sign.

  3. Dak is going to force the Cowboys hand by being mediocre and having to lose without Zeke.

    The best possible outcome for Dallas is Jerry keeps being proud and delusional, Zeke holds out into the season, Dallas gets embarrassed a few times and realizes that publicly saying you want to overpay your QB doesn’t make them good, and the money they would have blown on Dak provides more than enough for Zekes deal.

    Zero is one of the best FOOTBALL PLAYERS in the game. Cooper is not. Dak definitely isn’t.

    If Dak really has an offer he better sign it before the season starts.

  4. If Zeke was a fine, outstanding citizen it might be a different story but Jerrah isn’t going to blow up the salary cap on this guy when he’s one grope away from a lengthy suspension.

  5. I can just see Jerry Jones pretending to be a tough guy. “He wants to hold my Cowboys up for money? I’ll show him!” (Signs Alfred Morris, puts feet on desk) “Well, I guess ol’ Zeke knows who’s in charge now!”

    (Fast forward to Week 4 of the preseason)

    “Hey Zeke, it’s Jerry. Just wanted to let you know I have a contract here to make you the highest-paid running back of all-time. Fully guaranteed!” (Signs Zeke, hangs up phone, puts feet on desk) “And that’s why they call be Jerry Deal Maker.”

  6. Unfortunately I don’t Elliott has much leverage since he has essentially 2 years left because of the 5th year option.. is he really going to hold out for two years?? Na

  7. Trade him. A contract is a contract. But it seems the vast majority of players in the NFL (and other professional sports) think that contracts are just “recommendation guidelines”, or some other construct that doesn’t really mean anything. Besides….this is the kind of crap that prevents teams from coalescing into great teams – it destroys cohesiveness.

    Trade him.

  8. Another piece of worthless buckeye garbage from the hands of Urban Meyer. Let him sit and fade away. These guys who sign these “contarcts” have to learn to live up to their end of the deal.

  9. Some unpleasant facts for Elliott:

    1. He is under contract for at least the next two years;

    2. He can be fined up to $40,000 per day for every day he misses training camp;

    3. He has had multiple off field issues and seems impervious to common sense making his availability suspect;

    4. Dallas faced the same issue with Murray. They let him walk;

    5. The Colts need a running back so Dallas can trade his contract to Indianapolis and get back good value. Good luck with off the field opportunities without the Star on his helmet. He may have killed his future by alienating Dallas fans;

    6. Pittsburgh faced essentially the same issue with Bell. They inserted James Connor into the offense last year and the team barely missed a beat in the running game. Connor was a third round pick.

    The owners (and most fans) are fed up with employees trying to dictate their financial strategy. The Cowboys have @$23 million under the salary cap and three star players in the last year of their contracts: Cooper, Prescott and Jaylon Smith. If they pay Elliott the amount he apparently wants the team will need to jettison at least two of those players. Steven Jones would never do that (no one knows what Jerry Jones would do in his frantic pursuit of a Super Bowl not achieved by Jimmy Johnson).

  10. Hurray for Stephen Jones and the Cowboy stance. Zeke is getting terrible advice. Cowboys have him under contract for at least two years. Zeke will not recover those two years. He has to play. If he shows up and dogs it, it will hurt his next contract with another team as well as alienating team mates, fans, and other future deals I sincerely hope he holds out all year. Dallas would still have him under contract for two more years. Zeke will loose this battle.

  11. Morris is washed up but could be adequate behind that offensive line. They’d probably get much better production from the young guys but teams favor washed up vets because they know them.

    The problem with being adequate is that even the Jones’s admit that the offense runs through the running game, not through Dak.

  12. So, according to analytics, you don’t need a highly paid RB to win the SB, but the prevailing sentiment is that the Cowboys can’t even compete for one without Elliot.

    Which is it?

  13. “That’s my goal is at the end of the day we figure out a contract for Dak, for Amari, for Zeke, that’s fair,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. “That it’s one they can be satisfied with, but at the same time, they’ve got to understand there’s a real salary cap out there and any money that we save in their situations

    ————————-

    I’d like to point out that Dak has already stated he intends to be the highest paid QB and that the Cowboys have plenty of money to do the same for Zeke and Amari.

    “Solid” offers aren’t going to cut it. Record breaking deals only or don’t bother.

  14. love the little dig he gets in by trying to assure everyone that he was still correct to let emmitt hold out almost 30 years ago, and that he thinks they could have won that year without emmitt. zeke is nowhere near the player or teammate emmitt was. hes actually more headache than hes worth and he will slip up again. sorry jerry we all (non cowboys fans too) still think charles haley did the right thing.

  15. Cowboys will be fine.
    They still got Dak, right?
    Oh, and Garrett is still there too.

    Relax, we got this.

  16. Cowboys are in a tough spot. THey’ve got to shell out for 3 key position guys, two of whom want top money. And all will end up overpaid for various reasons.

  17. The Cowboys can’t even win many playoff games and Jerry Jones it talking Super Bowl? That’s rich.

  18. If they pay Dak instead of Zeke, the ‘Boys will be digging themselve a hole or painting themselves into a corner.

  19. It will at least make Dak proves he needs top money, or weaken his case for it. It will likely stop them from making the playoffs this year but may help them in the end by avoiding cap hell.

  20. Elliott would like a record contract, it wont happen. Elliott nor his agent seem to understand this is a situation made more complex by current players on the roster who ARE more important and the fact that Zeke missed 6 games due to suspension and then had ANOTHER incident this offseason.

  21. The Cowboys drafted an RB with the 4th pick, and now he is among the top three NFL RBs. Is it really such a surprise that he wants to be paid at a similar rate to the other top RBs? My guess is that when Jones realizes the offense will not succeed with a broken ”straw” he will capitulate.

  22. The great mind that is Jerry Jones ! The same great mind that holds training camp out of the great state of Texas and in California….Moron !!!

  23. I know it is a different time… Emmitt Smith held out prior to the 1993 season. Jerry took this same hardline stance. Then Dallas started 0-2 and Jerry saw how important Smith was and quickly made Smith the highest paid RB (4 years/$13M!!)

    Running back is a weird position in today’s NFL. You say that you really do need one, but man… life really stinks when you don’t have any good ones. My Eagles showed that last year after Sproles and Ajayi went down. To everyone who says “eh… you can find a RB at Dollar General… be careful.

  24. Cowboys aren’t going to let Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout force their hand
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wrong. They have already given an offer to a guy who has 2 years left on his contract. That was a dumb abandonment of leverage.

  25. mlhigh says:
    July 30, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Pay him or let him go.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    …He’s under contract. They will pay him if/when he shows up. That is all.

  26. Are the cowboys really prepared to enter the season without the straw, if you will, that stirs their drink?

  27. It wouldn’t be smart for Zeke to absorb his usual workload for the amount he’s paid. He understands how short the shelf life is and this is a business, not just a game.

  28. spencerhsite says:
    July 30, 2019 at 5:25 am
    Trade him. A contract is a contract. But it seems the vast majority of players in the NFL (and other professional sports) think that contracts are just “recommendation guidelines”, or some other construct that doesn’t really mean anything.

    ___________

    They are forced to sign these contracts to enter the NFL as rookies. They have zero negotiating power regarding pay or length of service. It seems the vast majority of fans forget this little part of it.

  29. As if the Cowboys are somehow obligated to let Zeke force their hand…NOT!
    The Cowboys = employer
    Zeke = employee
    Guess who runs the shows…the EMPLOYER not the employee.
    This is a free country, Zeke can work at McDonald’s or any other fast food franchise.
    Or ESPN, NBC, CBS, ABC can offer him a job.
    So let’s stop coddling these players and treat them like the worker bees that they are.

  30. Whoever is giving Zeke advice didn’t bother to look at the Cowboys upcoming schedule for 2019 season. The schedule lines up as such:

    Wk 1 Giants
    Wk 2 Redskins
    Wk 3 Dolphins
    Wk 4 Saints

    That might very well be the three weakest teams in the first three weeks, they do not play a legit playoff contender until the face the Saints in week 4. The Cowboys know they will be 3 – 1 a quarter of the way into the season, even if they start the concessions manager at RB. If Zeke holds out that long, which I doubt, he will lose $40K a day throughout training camp and 4 game checks, that is a lot of non-recoverable cash. Additionally he will not accrue a fourth year of experience toward earning unrestricted free agency and the momentum will have shifted to the team as a 3-1 record would indicate they are right not to value the RB position above every other NFL team – at least through the vantage of public perception.

    Finally this article is once again mis-representing what Zeke is earning for this upcoming season as it only states his base salary of #3.85 million, but the rookie contract he signed was a four year deal that had a $16.35 million signing bonus. The original 4 year contract was worth $24.4 million for an annual average of $6.2 million. The only year that can be looked at on a stand alone basis is his 5th year option year, which is accurately portrayed at $9.1 million. If you add that to the original $24.4 million the 5 year rookie contract annual average is dragged upward to $6.7 million.

  31. Dak Prescott–most 4th quarter comebacks of any QB in the NFL since 2016 (when he began playing). You trolls cannot stand facts I know. Dak is a leader, a winner. Period. You cannot see that, because you have no idea what those things really mean, sadly.

  32. 5. The Colts need a running back so Dallas can trade his contract to Indianapolis and get back good value. Good luck with off the field opportunities without the Star on his helmet. He may have killed his future by alienating Dallas fans;
    ……………………………………………………………………………
    The clots don’t need a RB they have Marlon Mack on a rookie deal who also avg 4.7 ypc with 9 tds in 12 games…

  33. OK, so they were going to sign Alfred Morris? I think their hand was forced to sign him.

  34. Everyone on here is saying they can’t win the Super Bowl without Zeke. Did rushing 20 times for 47 yards (2.4 average) against the Rams in the playoffs last year bring them the Super Bowl?

  35. I am growing tired of hearing the name Zeke Elliott. His yardage speaks for himself. Outside of the field, much that is printed indicates to me, he is a man of low character that thrives as an entitled individual. Also tired of his hand gestures and after most running plays he substituted himself out of the game. Trade him.

  36. No NFL player is entitled to work for the NFL. No where in the Constitution does it say, you are entitled to a multi million dollar pay day from a NFL owner.

  37. Not BuyingIt says:
    July 30, 2019 at 12:14 pm
    No NFL player is entitled to work for the NFL. No where in the Constitution does it say, you are entitled to a multi million dollar pay day from a NFL owner.
    ——————————————————————————————–Right but without the right players, the owners make no money. And they are actually entitled to at least six figure checks from their employers. As revenue increases so does salary. Stop being mad at players for getting the money they rightfully earned.

  38. This is mostly the fault of the idiot Rams and the numbskull Jets by paying their guys stupid money and throwing the scale out of whack. These guys aren’t worth the money they ask nor offer enough over what their replacements can for a fraction of the price. It’s a shame because it’s quite possibly the most physically demanding position, but that’s the sad reality. It’s one of the easiest positions to find an answer to and doesn’t take a ton of money or even require a premium draft pick to do it. Sucks to be a RB…

  39. All the folks saying to trade him? The new team will inherit the same contract.

    Who is going to want to give up something in trade for a guy who wants to be paid the top dollar at his position, while being a hair’s breadth away from a suspension with his off the field immaturity?

    And those big RB contracts? They backfired. Gurley was hurt and unavailable when they most needed him. The huge LeVeon Bell contract got the GM who did that deal fired. The ‘Boys would be stupid to spend huge money on him until they see if he can keep from getting suspended and continue to produce.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.