There was a report earlier today that Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t going to play in 2019 unless he got a new contract. That’s apparently news to the Cowboys, as multiple sources told Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News that the team has “not been informed that Zeke Elliott will sit out the season if he doesnt get a new contract” (Twitter link). This doesn’t necessarily mean that Elliott doesn’t hold this stance, just that he hasn’t told Cowboys brass of his plans if that’s the case.
Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, things seem to be heading in the wrong direction between the two sides. We also heard earlier today that Dallas was growing frustrated with the status of talks with their trio of stars seeking new contracts. Elliott is in a complicated situation, because unlike Le’Veon Bell he won’t be able to sit out the season and become a free agent in the offseason. As such, his threats to sit out don’t seem quite as serious as Bell’s did and probably won’t give him too much leverage.
Here’s the latest on Dallas’ negotiations:
- Cowboys exec Stephen Jones made comments that are sure to raise plenty of eyebrows earlier today during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan. Jones had said back in February that Elliott’s deal was likely to start at what Todd Gurley got, but he’s apparently changed his mind now that he’s seen how Bell’s free agency played out. When asked if he regretted making the comments about Gurley, Jones said “no, I still think that’s within the realm. At the same time, I think the market re-set with Le’Veon (Bell’s contract). I think you see what happens with Gurley and you get a great player like Le’Veon, who’s every bit as well thought of as Gurley and he had unfettered free agency. He had 32 teams with no draft picks attached, and the market was $13.5 million … less than Gurley’s ($14.375 million average). At the end of the day, business changes, and we pay attention to that.” That’s a very revealing statement, and indicates the Cowboys might feel emboldened by the fact that Bell didn’t get as much as a lot of people thought he would. Jerry’s son also added that he didn’t “want to get into what we’ve offered but we’ve been very generous with our offer.” The Jones’ clearly plan on playing hardball with their young running back.
- If you’re looking for some slightly more positive news, fortunately we have some courtesy of Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). Breer writes “there’s a decent shot” that the Cowboys are able to get deals done with both Dak Prescott and Elliott before Week 1. He also notes that Amari Cooper talks “have been slower moving.” As for the terms, Breer suggests that in this scenario Prescott would eclipse $30MM annually, with Elliott “maybe nudging past” Gurley. Of course, Jones’ statement came after these thoughts from Breer, and it now seems he’s prepared to dig in his heels at something less than what Gurley got.