The entire NFL world is worried about Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys and what sort of deal the two parties can come up with (if at all). One side that isn’t rushing the process is owner Jerry Jones.
He commented on the running back’s holdout on Saturday, stating that he’s not worried and won’t be hurrying towards a new contract anytime soon.
“You know that it’s a marathon,” he told Jon Machota of The Athletic Dallas. “It’s a long season. It’s a long career. It goes on all the time. You work on this 12 months a year.”
He added to Machota that as many as six to eight contract negotiations are going on at any given time in the Dallas organization. This echoes Jones’ non-chalant attitude towards his back throughout this entire process.
Jones suggested that you don’t need a league rushing leader to win the Super Bowl, even though that happened twice with Emmitt Smith in the 1990s.
“Of course, Emmitt had participated in a Super Bowl, being the first rushing champ — this is very important — first time ever a rushing champion was on a Super Bowl-winning team,” Jones told KTVT-TV in Dallas. “The point there is, you don’t have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl.”
Elliott and his team are prepared for this process to last until the regular season. Elliott’s agent Rocky Arcenaux allegedly told Eric Dickerson this, which was relayed on an episode of FS1’s “Undisputed.”
Elliott is looking for a contract extension that makes his salary competitive with the likes of the Rams’ Todd Gurley or the Cardinals’ David Johnson. He is set to earn just $3,853,137 in 2019, but this will bump up to just over $9 million in 2020 before becoming a free agent.
He churned out 1,434 yards on the ground and six scores last season after failing to eclipse 1,000 in 2017.
Cowboys Preseason Opener vs. 49ers is Underway
Dak Prescott started in the Cowboys preseason opener Saturday night against the 49ers. He led a field goal drive by completing all four of his passes for 23 yards. In Elliott’s place, Troy Pollard toted the rock four times for 16 yards. The rookie back was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft out of Memphis.
Part of Jones’ laissez faire approach to Elliott could be his extreme trust in Prescott’s abilities. As Colin Cowherd pointed out earlier this week, Dallas’ improvement last season was due to the improvement of the passing game with Amari Cooper, and not so much Elliott on the ground.
“It is of my opinion, and perhaps my opinion only, that Dak Prescott, like a lot of young people…was a bit of a late bloomer,” Cowherd said. “(He) improved a lot at the end of last year. It is of my opinion that there is a belief in America that Dak needs Zeke, and Dak actually matches better with Amari Cooper.
“Before they landed Amari Cooper, Dak was 3-4. After, 7-2. He completed 62 (percent of his passes) before Amari Cooper. 71 (percent) after. Eight touchdowns, four interceptions before Amari Cooper. 14 touchdowns, four interceptions after.”
If Prescott can thrive with Cooper, as well as questionable receiving assets in Allen Hurns, Randall Cobb and unretired tight end Jason Witten, Jones could be proven right. Dallas has made the playoffs two out of three years with Elliott in the backfield after just two appearances in the previous seven seasons.