Stephen Jones: RB market re-set with Le’Veon Bell deal

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When discussing Ezekiel Elliott‘s next contract in February, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the deal the Rams struck with Todd Gurley is “probably where it starts” for negotiations with Elliott.

Jones seems to feel a bit differently now. Gurley’s average annual salary is $14.375 million, but Le'Veon Bell signed a deal with the Jets that calls for average salaries of $13.125 million since those comments. Bell also got $10 million less in guaranteed money than Gurley, which is how his name came up in a question for Jones during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday.

Jones was asked if he regrets intimating that the team would be using Gurley’s contract as a jumping off point in Elliott talks and his answer touched on the Bell deal reshaping the playing field for running back contracts.

“No, I still think that’s within the realm. At the same time, I think the market re-set with Le’Veon,” Jones said. “I think you see what happens with Gurley and you get a great player like Le’Veon, who’s every bit as well thought of as Gurley and he had unfettered free agency. He had 32 teams with no draft picks attached, and the market was $13.5 million . . . less than Gurley’s. At the end of the day, business changes, and we pay attention to that.”

Jones was asked if the difference between the two deals was so great, even at the actual figures, that the team would risk going into next season without Elliott. Jones said the team’s made a “very generous” offer to the running back, although it’s clear Elliott doesn’t agree that it is as generous as it should be and he likely wouldn’t agree with being comped to Bell rather than Gurley either.

62 responses to “Stephen Jones: RB market re-set with Le’Veon Bell deal

  1. Well Le’veon did what he said. He reset the market, it’s just that he actually reset it in the wrong direct. Too bad you didn’t take that deal from the Steelers. Now they got their Pro-Bowl QB and someone else gets the overpaid headache.

  2. Stay strong, Zeke.
    Your brethren in the NFLPA got your back.
    Remember, the cause is bigger than yourself, it’s for the future.

  3. The team should hold hard and fast because as soon as the game checks stop coming in the player will cave as most are over leveraged with Ferrari, entourage, and Mansion payments they can ill afford. With that being said JJ has the self-control of a 5 yr old with a sleeve of fresh Oreos and will break the bank in due time, with record money. Bank on it.

  4. It’s interesting to me that team context never seems to get brought up when discussing situations like Elliott’s.

    Contracts for star players don’t happen in vacuums. A RB coming up for a new contract at the same time as their fellow rookie QB and star receiver is a very different situation than, say, Gurley or Bell.

    Players & agents only seem to want their contracts compared to their highest-paid peers at the same position, when clearly the biggest variable affecting what a team can pay is who else they have to pay and when.

    It’s also a bit dishonest for all the focus to be on what the player himself gains or loses, when the salary cap means that everything he gains is a loss for his teammates’ potential pay, and everything he loses is a potential pay increase for teammates.

    I see people complaining about the “injustice” of stars not getting paid enough, when most of the team works just as hard but gets paid a lot less.

  5. Only foolish teams pay out insane money for RBs. We see time and time again that teams are able to replace RBs with relative ease. Rams paid Gurley and now his days as a #1 are over. The Jets bid against themselves and drove up the price for an oft injured and one test away from a year suspension malcontent who will be “injured” once he realizes the Jets can’t open any lanes for him. As far as Elliot, he’s in the news for his off field troubles far more than he is for performance on it. The Cowboys don’t need that type of headache. They’ve been through it far too many times before.

  6. Just trade him for a few draft picks. He overvalued himself and undervalues his offensive line. Be done! He is not worth all this

  7. Zeke’s shown enough to get a raise now rather than later. When you know you’re worth top dollar why risk playing a full year and possible injury for change compared to what you would make with a new deal? Makes sense for him to sit out. Plenty of other teams would sign him.

  8. Dallas is in a unique situation. Without Zeke, Dak is forced to step it up and some other RB can show what they can do with more reps behind the Great Wall of Dallas. Tony Pollard is your next Kamara and beyond. Kid has vintage Desean Jackson speed. One little Dak screen, this kid is going to break some ankles. If Dallas finishes the season with double digit wins and produces a top 5 in rushing RB either Pollard or Morris, trade Zeke for a farm.

  9. Dublin Demons says:
    August 6, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Zeke that mean a 1 year vacation and a pay cut. Or show up and play

    Actually, it means you’re fooling no one Jerry, its either pay or waste last chance at a super bowl

  10. “Zeke’s shown enough to get a raise now rather than later. When you know you’re worth top dollar why risk playing a full year and possible injury for change compared to what you would make with a new deal? Makes sense for him to sit out. Plenty of other teams would sign him.”

    Lets remember. The NFLPA agreed to the current structure of the rookie deals. That includes the 5th year option on 1st round players as well as the slotting contracts. Now that these guys are in the NFL they don’t want to abide by the terms their “brothers” agreed to years ago. This is the way unions go. They sell out the less tenured or future generations for themselves. This next CBA cycle will likely agree to less for the rookies becasue that won’t affect the guys currently arbitrating and playing. The Union, like any major corporate organization is only concerned about itself and it’s own profits.

  11. Gurley was overpaid by a moron GM who forgot to check the medical records and failed to realize that very few running backs are as productive as they were with their 1st 4 or 5 year contract, once LA gets past Gurley’s colossal dead cap hits he will be cut. Le’Veon was over payed by one of the NFL’s worst franchises that were basically bidding against themselves. Dallas should really start at about $11 million which is this year’s RB tag price.

    Zeke’s only leverage is that Dallas loses their 1st 3 or 4 games (hard to see them not being 3 and 0 when the play the Saints) and Jerry gets desperate, but if they win and one of the drafted RB’s is successful Zeke could potentially be cut and lose the money this and next year and will be lucky to get anything more than a 2 or 3 year $7 to $8 million a year contract with his behavior issues and now holding out.

  12. killerquails says:
    August 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm
    Just trade him for a few draft picks. He overvalued himself and undervalues his offensive line. Be done! He is not worth all this

    —-

    Great idea, except for one teeny, tiny issue: They ain’t got no other good running backs.

  13. Ok?

    Why did you draft an immature character question 4th overall knowing how dumb it is to have pay them 2 years later?

    Why are these teams so dumb. Go look at the Cowboys draft room footage of them celebrating after drafting him.

    Having an RB eat up that much of your cap, is a disaster.

  14. “firedog784 says:
    August 6, 2019 at 3:34 pm
    Meanwhile that’s probably about what Belichick pays for all his running backs”

    $12.79 million for the six guys currently on the roster. Assuming he keeps the top three paid (White, Burkhead, and Michel), he’d be just under $10 mill.

  15. Conner’s 2018 pro bowl season with the Steelers is proof that the Bell’s success with the Steelers was as much a result of a HoF QB, excellent OL, and 2 pro bowl WRs on the field at the same time.

  16. Zeke deserves to be the highest-paid back. If Dallas is unwilling to do that, they better be ready to be missing their best player for the bulk of the season.

  17. The market did NOT “reset” with the Bell contract. S. Jones opened his mouth referring to the Gurley contract and is now trying to walk it back. It doesn’t work like that. If I was Zeke I would hold him to his words as well. Pay him or trade him but he’s not coming back without a deal. He’s one bad hit away from a career ending injury and he knows it. He might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer or the brightest bulb on the tree, but if his agent is then that is where the rubber hits the road. I didn’t know that S. Jones said something so foolish. Talk about tipping your hand. Neither him nor his father are fit to hold executive positions within the Cowboys organization. Other then handing a team to Barry Switzer that my Grandmother could have won a Super Bowl with, when has the Jones family done with the Cowboys since Jimmy Johnson left? Yea. The math speaks for itself as to who the brains of that outfit was.

  18. dirtdawg53 says:
    August 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm
    “firedog784 says:
    August 6, 2019 at 3:34 pm
    Meanwhile that’s probably about what Belichick pays for all his running backs”

    $12.79 million for the six guys currently on the roster. Assuming he keeps the top three paid (White, Burkhead, and Michel), he’d be just under $10 mill.

    =================

    It’s interesting how priorities play out. Those three guys have SB rings and will always know they are champions. They’ll have SB highlight reels to show and stories to tell grandkids that will actually sound like they matter.

    Meanwhile, the guys maximizing their money at the expense of others will have lots of money, but won’t have accomplished much. “I was a good player for a while” doesn’t quite have the ring of, “I won a Super Bowl”. (Or three, in White’s case.)

    Elliott’s an excellent football player, but personally, I’d rather have James White on my team, and I’d rather have White’s story to tell.

  19. I’d trade him. His personal history begs future suspensions. His attitude is destructive to team cohesiveness. His current hold-out while under contract would be the final straw for me. Excellent value could be gained for him right now.

  20. Stay out until week 10. Get your good year and get your money elsewhere. They are going to be in cap hell soon anyway. They are going to pay their average QB top QB money and have to pay cooper not to mention there are other players on their D want a new contract!

  21. I’m sorry but how many championships has Zeke won for the Cowboys? Oh that’s right ZERO… Fine him for each missed day and force him take the offer on the table

  22. So Zeke wants 15 mil a year. But the Cowboys want to only pay 12 mil a year.

    Is this very public holdout by your star player really worth 3 million, especially when the cap is 190?

  23. lizzyisnoindian says:
    August 6, 2019 at 5:11 pm
    I’m sorry but how many championships has Zeke won for the Cowboys? Oh that’s right ZERO… Fine him for each missed day and force him take the offer on the table

    ———————————————————————————————-

    remind me again
    Is Football a team sport
    or
    Is Football an Individual sport where individual stats wins you a SB.

  24. What is it about playing in Dallas that every player wants to get every last dime out of Jerry and is willing to hold out to do so?

    Bad team culture.

  25. “Meanwhile that’s probably about what Belichick pays for all his running backs.”

    Believe its less actually.

  26. Clearly the league was acting together to punish Bell for holding out. The league may do the same to Elliot should he fail to make a deal with the Cowboys, but I’m guessing Elliot is willing to risk it. He has far fewer miles on the tires than Bell.

  27. The bigger question is whether Bell and Gurley are the straws, if you will, that stir their teams drink……

  28. No one cares. Running backs are worthless after three years. Better off cutting him and signing some no name bum to replace him.

  29. Boy are we fans getting ripped off. Your child wants a $200 jersey of his favorite player and two or three years later never wears it again. You suck your children into the NFL because your a parent/fan you better be ABLE TO PAY for it when they want gear. Just saying.

  30. As crazy as this may sound, I root for the star on the helmet, not the name on the back of the jersey. I may like a particular player, but if he goes to say the Jets in free agency, I have a passing interest in his success, but no 9nterest in the Jets success suddenly.

    Point is, I am a lifelong Cowboys fan. I have been a Cowboys fan longer than Zeke has been alive. If that means I side with “billionaires over millionaires”, so be it.

    If I were the owner or GM of the Cowboys, I would not cave to Zeke. It does not help the long term of the brand.

  31. “Boy are we fans getting ripped off. Your child wants a $200 jersey of his favorite player and two or three years later never wears it again.”

    If you’re paying 200 bucks for a jersey you certainly are.

  32. It’s interesting how priorities play out. Those three guys have SB rings and will always know they are champions. They’ll have SB highlight reels to show and stories to tell grandkids that will actually sound like they matter.

    Meanwhile, the guys maximizing their money at the expense of others will have lots of money, but won’t have accomplished much. “I was a good player for a while” doesn’t quite have the ring of, “I won a Super Bowl”. (Or three, in White’s case.)

    Elliott’s an excellent football player, but personally, I’d rather have James White on my team, and I’d rather have White’s story to tell.
    —————————-
    What a croc of BS! You know who thinks like this…. broke people!!. Barry Sanders and Dan Marino don’t have rings, and I’m sure they’re showing their kids HOF induction speeches and highlights from their stalker careers. Only fanboys think PROFESSIONAL athletes care more about rings than money. When James White is out of the league in 3 years and forced to work as a radio host, or open up a barbershop, he will look back and think to himself…”if only I would’ve made Bell or Gurley money “.

  33. @ Norseman.

    “Bad team culture”

    Right. Bad team culture has yielded Jerry 3 SB rings. How many Super Bowl rings do your Vikes have, with their “good” team culture?

    And btw, it is the fans who pay these players. The fans make Jerry a rich man.

  34. @ chickensalad43 says:

    “So Zeke wants 15 mil a year. But the Cowboys want to only pay 12 mil a year. Is this very public holdout by your star player really worth 3 million, especially when the cap is 190?”

    Firstly, the cap is $188.2 million. Secondly, Zeke is under contract for two more seasons. Prescott, Cooper, and Byron Jones are under contract for only one more season. I am not saying Zeke doesn’t deserve more compensation, but there is also Prescott, Cooper, and Jones need to be considered FIRST, and none of the 3 are holding out.

    Zeke is simply trying to get paid as the workhorse, and I get it, but he also needs to understand he isn’t the only player on the team looking to get paid. He and his agent aren’t going about it the right way, IMO, and RB’s are pretty much throw-away players in this league. Gurley was overpaid, and so was Bell. Elliott certainly has more tread on his tires, but Dallas is simply not going to overpay at the RB position with Stephen Jones in charge of the contracts. We have seen how Stephen has conducted contract negotiations the past several years, and Dallas has become one of the more fiscally conservative teams in the NFL, and have also drafted very well. Dallas is currently top 10 regarding cap space at $22.6 million.

  35. kevpft says:
    August 6, 2019 at 3:12 pm
    It’s interesting to me that team context never seems to get brought up when discussing situations like Elliott’s.
    Contracts for star players don’t happen in vacuums. A RB coming up for a new contract at the same time as their fellow rookie QB and star receiver is a very different situation than, say, Gurley or Bell.
    Players & agents only seem to want their contracts compared to their highest-paid peers at the same position, when clearly the biggest variable affecting what a team can pay is who else they have to pay and when.
    It’s also a bit dishonest for all the focus to be on what the player himself gains or loses, when the salary cap means that everything he gains is a loss for his teammates’ potential pay, and everything he loses is a potential pay increase for teammates.
    I see people complaining about the “injustice” of stars not getting paid enough, when most of the team works just as hard but gets paid a lot less.
    ——————————————————————————————
    Do you make more than the most important person at your company? Are your salaries even in the same ballpark? This argument literally makes no sense. Who cares how hard every player works? It’s a production based league and a production based world.

  36. Players and teachers and doctors and lawyers are all paid the same thing, generally. They are paid “what it costs to adequately replace them.”

    It’s not about the value of their service or their personal worth. It’s just not.

    “Adequately” is defined by others. Checks are written and signed by others.

    In the NFL, the only real contract money is the guaeranteed money.

  37. I love how these owners always talk about who reset what price.

    First, different organizations require certain things from players. In Pittsburgh, Bell was part of a Trio on offense. In Dallas, the Offense goes through Elliot and the O-Line. Pittsburgh was going to offer Bell $17Million per yer but since Pittsburgh doesn’t guarantee contracts after the first year, he declined it. Gurley took $14Million.

    So now, Dallas needs to stop playing games and they need to sit with Elliot. Both need to harsh out the value and not the Market.

  38. everyone here is assuming that Zeke is making these decisions. This is the agency representing him telling him what to do. At some point he is going to have to tell the agency that the contract is fair and he wants to play..

  39. Zeke is another “head case.” Get Melvin Gordon for half the price. Not elite but good rotational back. If Zeke returns it gives “LONGEVITY” to Cowboys backs with rotational game plan. Hello! This is what New England does year after year.

  40. The team needs to move on from Dak and Zeke if Jerry really wants another super bowl.
    Don’t overpay Dak with first tier money.

  41. Eagles fan here. YES! Pay Zeke, pay Dak, pay Cooper. All top dollar. Reset the market so all three can take all cap $ for the foreseeable future. I’m good with that. I’m sure Zeke will be productive for many years (see Gurley) oh wait.

  42. Zeke > Bell. Give Elliott a 4 year/$60Mil extension w/ $20Mil SB. ’19 Salary = $3.8Mil (+ the SB); ’20 = $9.1Mil that current contract calls for and ’21-’24 = $10Mil (structured however Dallas chooses). Elliott gets $15Mil/yr “new money”, Dallas locks him up thru ’24.

  43. Man am I tired of reading about RBs holding out. I do understand when they outplay their rookie contract, I get it. In the next CBA, just make the length of contracts for RBs max out at 4 years for first rounders, no 5th yr Team option. A fair compromise considering the # of productive years a RB usually has . And if the RB holds out in year 4 of his contract, the team gains an additional year of service at the same rate as year #4. Eliminate the drama.

  44. The NFL Owners are now on notice as the NFLPA is empowered now with STEEL TEETH in the next CBA deal in 2021!

  45. So the market reset with a guy who didn’t play a single snap in the 2018 regular season. If I’m Zeke and/or his rep hearing that, I’m furious beyond words.

  46. yourmomsblogger says:
    August 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm
    Pollard 40 yd combine was 4.52
    meh
    _______________________________________

    Emmitt Smith ran a 4.7 40. That seemed to work out pretty good…

  47. The Cowboys should’ve drafted a running back. They knew this was coming, and the age of highly paid backs (despite Bell and Gurley) is over.

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