The regular season is closing in and there doesn’t seem to be an end to the Ezekiel Elliott holdout in sight. The Dallas Cowboys and their star running back can’t agree to terms on a contract extension and this has led to Elliott missing all of training camp. It seems like every few days there is a new development that makes the situation seem even worse.
It’s very possible the holdout goes into the regular season as the Cowboys haven’t made any new offers to Elliott recently. Both sides should be eager to get this resolved, but neither seems keen on caving in. If the Cowboys aren’t willing to pay the running back what he wants, they could explore trade options to teams that might give Elliott the contract he’s looking for. The Oakland Raiders are an intriguing option as they may have assets that the Cowboys like and they still have some cap space.
What’s an Offer the Cowboys Would Listen To?
Elliott still has two years left on his contract, so the Cowboys have a lot of leverage here. If they decide that they’d like to pursue a trade, they can take their time until a deal that they like comes along. It’s going to take a hefty price tag for the Cowboys to move on from their superstar running back, but the team does of a history of moving on from players at the position. Just ask DeMarco Murray and Herschel Walker.
The Raiders are a team that definitely has assets that the Cowboys could find interesting. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs is a very exciting young player and he’s going to be really cheap for a few more years. He’s not at the talent level that Elliott is, but his production behind that Cowboy offensive line could get pretty close to what Zeke has done. Jacobs is also a very high-character player, so the headache of legal issues and suspensions probably won’t happen with him around.
Oakland also has an extra first-round pick from last year’s Khalil Mack trade that they could offer with Jacobs. A first-round pick with Jacobs seems like a fair trade and both teams could come out of it feeling good. The Cowboys get an exciting young running back to replace Elliott and a future first-round pick. The Raiders get to pair Zeke with Antonio Brown, which would arguably give them the two best players at their positions in the NFL.
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Should the Raiders Consider Making an Offer?
The problem is, this is a trade the Raiders shouldn’t make. Adding Elliott to the Derek Carr-led offense is certainly exciting and it’s hard to imagine many teams would be able to stop it. However, Zeke has already had problems in Las Vegas, allegedly. If he signs a long term deal with the Raiders, he’s going to be spending a lot of time in Sin City. General manager Mike Mayock made it a point to draft high-character players with the move to Vegas looming.
A lot can go wrong in Vegas and a player like Elliott can easily find his way into some trouble. Also, it’s entirely possible that Josh Jacobs will be every bit as good as Elliott. Jacobs didn’t have the college success that Zeke did, but he was also used significantly less. The former Alabama running back is coming into the NFL with pretty fresh legs. Elliott is a proven commodity on the field and his addition could launch the Raiders into playoff contention this year, but it could be a big mistake in the long run. Jon Gruden and company should resist the urge for quick success and let Jacobs show what he can do.