The Dallas Cowboys and star running back Ezekiel Elliott remain at an impasse when it comes to contract negotiations. While the team is in Oxnard, California for training camp, Elliott has dug his heels in and is holding out ahead of the 2019 NFL season.
While the team and Elliott’s reps appear to have remained in contact over recent weeks as they attempt to work out new a deal, the latest rumblings are an obvious cause for concern. As ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported, Elliott plans to sit out until a new deal is reached. Obviously, this means the holdout could run into the season, but Anderson also noted that it’s “not likely” for that to be the case.
Representatives for running back Ezekiel Elliott have told Dallas Cowboys that he will not play in the 2019 season without a new contract, a source close to the situation told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Tuesday.
The source added that at this time, it is not likely that Elliott’s holdout continues into the regular season, based on the belief that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to get a new deal done with the running back before Week 1.
But while it appears the Cowboys are pushing to get a deal done with Elliott, along with quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, a few noteworthy things stand out.
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Cowboys Value Ezekiel Elliott Contract Closer to Le’Veon Than Gurley?
Around the time of Anderson’s initial news on Elliott’s holdout, NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported the Cowboys have put “generous” offers on the table for all three of their stars. Per Slater, the deals would place each player among the top-five in terms of highest-paid at their position.
But that’s just the start of the contract situation with Elliott, as it appears the Cowboys may not be ready to offer him a deal which would make him the NFL’s highest-paid running back. Instead of Todd Gurley-type money, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News explains his contract is being valued more in the range of Le’Veon Bell’s recent deal, at least the early years of it.
Bell’s entire deal with the New York Jets is worth $52.5 million over four years, per Spotrac, but allows the team fairly easy outs after the first two seasons. If the Jets wanted to part with Bell in year No. 3, it’d leave them with just $4 million in dead money, a number which drops to $2 million in the final year of the contract.
Cowboys’ Offers Not Likely to Improve Much?
While the Cowboys reportedly have strong offers on the table for Elliott, Prescott and Cooper, the big question becomes how much higher the team is willing to go beyond this. Based on comments from vice president Stephen Jones, it doesn’t appear likely the team will go drastically higher than where they currently sit.
As The Athletic’s Jon Machota reported, Jones said the team won’t “be a market-setter.”
“We’ve got three really good football players that we’re dealing with here and that have very good representation. And they want to see the market. We can’t push the issue unless we want to be a market-setter. And we’re damn sure not going to be a market-setter, because of all the things that go with being a Dallas Cowboy.” Jones stated, via Machota on Twitter.
“We want to be fair. We want our players to feel good about their contract. But at the same time, we don’t want to do things that are out of line because we can’t afford to be that way.” he said.
This doesn’t bode well for the trio as they seek new deals, although the Cowboys have typically made sure to get their top-tier players signed for the long haul. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out in the coming weeks.