Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may have made a big mistake regarding his star running-back’s recent holdout. Ezekiel Elliot has yet to report for preseason camp, as he is determined to renegotiate his current contract. When asked about the status of the negotiations on Saturday night at the Cowboy’s preseason game in Hawaii, Jones clearly joked, “Zeke who?”
Putting all jokes to the side, Elliot’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux elaborated that his client now feels disrespected and apparently isn’t happy that Jones was willing to make light of the matter publicly.
While playing on his current rookie deal, Zeke has out-performed the original agreement. Since entering the National Football League in 2016, he has played in 40 games while rushing for 4,048 yards. In that span he has managed to average 4.7 yards per carry while adding 1,199 yards receiving to his stat line.
That’s not all. The All-Pro RB definitely has a knack for putting points on the scoreboard, working his way into the end zone a total of 34 times. That’s an astonishing average of nearly twelve TD’s per season.
Zeke is clearly the engine that makes the Cowboys’ offense run, as we have seen Quarterback Dak Prescott under-perform during Elliot’s absence. While Elliot served a six-game suspension to start his second season, his fellow QB struggled to be effective in the team’s passing game without relief from the running game.
Currently, Elliot is training in Cabo, San Lucas at what is presumed to be a “great facility”, while his offensive counterpart Prescott and wide-receiver Amari Cooper have reported to camp with their teammates despite also being involved in contract re-negotiations of their own.
So why would Jerry Jones risk upsetting his prized bull by pretending that the holdout is irrelevant? He even went as far as to compliment rookie running-back Tony Pollard’s performance, and stated that the rookie will be right in the thick of the offense complimenting Elliot when the regular season begins if he maintains his recent level of play.
Last week, the Cowboys offered Prescott a contract averaging $30 million per year, which he eventually turned down. The offer surely irked Zeke, as he is having trouble even getting an offer averaging $15 million per season.
Perhaps, Jones is sending Elliot a message that he needs to report to camp to begin aiding his team in their pursuit of a Super Bowl victory? Who exactly maintains the leverage in this back-and-forth and when will the holdout end?
Zeke has already failed to accrue a season towards his pending free agency by not reporting, and has amassed fines in excess of $900,000. With two years remaining on his current deal, Elliot can sit this season out and still play next year to be eligible on the open market after the 2020 season. If the Cowboy’s fail to win their first few games, the fans will demand the team reward Elliot rather than risk missing the playoffs.
Jones needs to pony up the dough and grant Elliot a raise he has earned. Continuing to publicly deny his star running-back what is rightfully deserved can only lead to more hurt feelings between both parties that will ultimately see Zeke’s departure in the distant future, thus closing the window for Dallas’ championship aspirations.