Ezekiel Elliott Privately Plotting Holdout Over Contract Dispute [Report]

Ezekiel Elliott suspension Las Vegas

Getty Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott is reportedly not happy with his contract situation with the Dallas Cowboys. So much so that the running back has said privately that he plans to holdout if he’s not given a new deal.

Pro Football Talk reported that Elliott has spoken about holding out of Cowboys training camp, although he hasn’t made his comments or desires public yet.

The Cowboys are in the midst of a busy offseason, having multiple key players in need of new deals. Among the names are quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, corner Byron Jones and of course, Elliott. All were Pro Bowlers a year ago.

All those players could become free agents following this season, while the Cowboys have already picked up Elliott’s fifth-year option this offseason, keeping him through 2020 with  the possibility of still adding a franchise tag on top of that to buy another season.

“Certainly we’ve got a couple years there with Zeke to get that done,”  Cowboys COO Stephen Jones told the PFT PM podcast following the draft when asked about an extension for Elliott. “We certainly want to get him done. He’s the straw, if you will, that stirs our drink. He’s a key part of what we’re about. Those things take time to get done. They don’t happen overnight. Certainly he’s a priority in terms of ultimately getting him signed. There hasn’t really been a timetable put on this.”

The team already gave defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence the richest deal in franchise history this offseason and it’s going to be a crunch to keep all of the team’s key pieces around, especially with deals for linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch on the horizon as well.


Ezekiel Elliott Has Been a Workhorse for Cowboys

GettyDallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys have not been shy about feeding Zeke a massive amount. Last year, Elliott had a monster workload, with 304 rushes — 43 more than any other player — to go with 77 catches, collecting 2,001 yards from scrimmage.

The Ohio State product has led the league in rushing two of his first three seasons and has put on some major mileage.

The number of touches is something first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has indicated he wants to taper off a bit, but also understands how important Elliott is to the offense.

“At the end of the day, we want to get him as many touches as we can. At the same time, you got to recognize what a 16-plus game season is,” Moore told reporters. “We’ll see how it progresses (with the other RBs), but if we can get it to Zeke, we’re gonna get it to Zeke.”

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon in the midst of his own contract issues and offered some support for his running back brethren while at SportsCon, a three-day sports convention in Dallas.

“You seen what happened when Zeke was out. It was a completely different team,” Gordon said. “You can replace average backs and just plug em’ in. But you can’t just replace a great back.  People think you can do that and you can’t. There would be a difference.”

“We should get paid,” Gordon continued. “It sucks.”


Why the Cowboys Want to Hold Off on a Deal For Elliott

It’s no secret that running back is the position that has historically seen the steepest drop off when a running back hits a wall. With the Cowboys’ flexibility with Elliott’s contract, the team could try to get two more solid years out of their back and then reevaluate the deal.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano’s recently published a list of the 50 NFL players who could get contract extensions before training camp but noted that Elliott was the most unlikely of the bunch to garner a new deal this offseason.

“I do not think Elliott gets an extension this offseason, or even next offseason,” Graziano wrote. “As vital a player as he is, the Cowboys don’t feel the same urgency with this deal that they do with (Dak) Prescott, (Amari) Cooper or even cornerback Byron Jones.”

It’s a wait and see approach for the Cowboys and Elliott. Training camp for the Cowboys opens up on July 27 in Oxnard, California.

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