Takes don’t get any hotter than this for Colin Cowherd.
The FOX Sports 1 talking head, notorious for his inane proclamations, spoke those words you see above Wednesday amid the ongoing contractual spat between Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott and stick-to-his-guns owner Jerry Jones.
Which, although fairly adversarial, is a molehill compared to the mountain that Cowherd’s attempting to construct, rooted in Jones’ willingness to defend Elliott against NFL persecution in recent years.
Cowherd said, in part:
“Jerry Jones drafts Zeke. Zeke gets in trouble, immediately. Jerry goes to the wall for him. The fans bail on him. Media people like me bail on him. The NFL bails on him. The commissioner bails on him. And Jerry goes to the wall for him. You pay him back going to Mexico and two years out holding out. You don’t think Jerry’s justified with a little bit of his anger?
If I defended you — your mom wouldn’t, your dad wouldn’t, your job wouldn’t, your boss wouldn’t, your industry wouldnt — and I defended you, and I tried to get your boss fired, don’t you owe me a solid? Just a little solid?
I don’t always take the owner’s side, but in this instance, Jerry defended Zeke to the core. And make no bones about this: Jerry has all the leverage. Jerry just doesn’t have to pay Zeke for two years, then he can franchise him. Zeke’s career could be over. He doesn’t have to pay him. Doesn’t have to pay him.”
Unlike Jerry, Cowherd hasn’t earned the right to joke about Elliott. And that’s what this is: a joke.
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Jones Shades Zeke, Part II
In case you missed it, the mercurial Cowboys czar zinged his franchise workhorse — again — amid Tuesday’s press conference announcing the $64 million contract extension for linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Jones sent a clear message that he’s willing to open his pocketbook for a particular brand of player, and indirect messages to Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper that Smith took priority because of qualities they may lack.
“It is neat that Jaylon understands that when you have a solid roster and you have as many high-quality young players that we have, you have to allocate your resources wisely to keep and have all those players,” he said. “That’s called team building, and I will assure you that this was about team. It certainly was beneficial to Jaylon but I can assure you this was about team. Our goals are to build the best team and it takes cooperation from both parties when you are doing agreements. He’s worth 1,000 words of anything we can say about contracts and the Dallas Cowboys.”
Jones initially tweaked Elliott following Dallas’ preseason victory over the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday, joking, “Zeke who?” in response to a big outing from rookie RB Tony Pollard. Elliott’s agent confided to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that his client found the attempt at humor “disrespectful.”
“Less Pie” for Elliott to Eat
Smith’s new contract — a five-year pact with $35 million in guarantees — took a chunk from the Cowboys’ available salary cap space, which sat around $23.5 million prior to the agreement. Jones admitted “there is less pie left, make no bones about it.”
The club will have to get creative to lock down Elliott, who’s hoping to surpass the four-year, $52.5 million contract Le’Veon Bell inked with the New York Jets in free agency. Bell’s pact includes $25 million fully guaranteed and can max out at $61 million in total value.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL