The Cowboys are no longer saying that Ezekiel Elliott is the straw that stirs their drink. They’re saying instead that their drink doesn’t need a straw.
It’s posturing, plain and simple. The Cowboys can’t afford to quickly cave on Zeke, or other agents of other players will regard the Cowboys are weaker than the Ukraine. And so as Zeke heaves a medicine ball at the YMCA in Cabo, the team has no choice but to adopt a posture of indifference, not desperation.
The real question is whether, if the holdout lingers, the Cowboys will make arrangements to proceed into the regular season without Elliott. For now, they’ve signed running back Alfred Morris. Here’s what former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus, who currently writes for the team’s official website, had to say about the decision to bring back Morris after a one-year detour to San Francisco: “I believe that you have to think that this might last a while. This team does a great job of protecting themselves for these types of situations. The next move might be consider trading for a player if this does go longer.”
The problem, of course, is that Peterson currently plays for Washington, one of the Cowboys’ arch-rivals. Also, Washington gave Peterson a $1.5 million signing bonus earlier this year, and they’d likely want added compensation for taking a hit of $750,000 this year and next year. But with coach Jay Gruden recently raving about Samaje Perine and with 2018 second-rounder Derrius Guice healthier than expected, maybe Peterson is expendable — albeit potentially expensive.
It’s a spitball at this point, nothing more. The broader point is that, if the Cowboys are serious about taking a hard line with Elliott, signing a player like Alfred Morris won’t convince anyone of that. Trading for a player like Peterson definitely will.