Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently expressed confidence that he will come to new deals to keep star players Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper in Dallas. And while Jones has never been short on confidence (or cash flow), one of those stars is drawing a line in the sand until his contract demands are met.
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— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 6, 2019
A source informed ESPN’s Josina Anderson that Elliott will not play in 2019 without a new contract. Elliott has been holding out for a new deal since training camp, and his reported insistence that he will not play until a new contract comes his way suggests that he means business.
Elliott is set to make $3.8 million this season and $9.109 million next season. But since that is far below market value for a running back of his caliber, the star rusher is holding out because it is his only means of gaining leverage in negotiations. It is a bold ploy with two more years left on his first contract and potentially two more seasons after that on the Franchise (or Transition) tag, but it is one that could result in the pay day he desires.
There are a variety of reasons to pay attention to this contract struggle as we approach the football season.
For starters, Elliott is the Cowboys’ best player on offense. He makes the thing go. Elliott has led the league in rushing twice, and when he is cooking, his mere presence makes it easy for Prescott to link up with Cooper, Jason Witten, and others in the passing game. Being without your best player is one thing, but playing without him when your team plays against division rivals and potential playoff contenders is another.
It is worth noting that the Cowboys will play the Packers, Vikings, Lions, Saints, and Eagles before they square off against the Bears in Week 14. Or to put it another way, the entire NFC North and a pair of teams who will be in the running for a postseason spot. It should go without saying, but Elliott’s playing status being up in the air could tilt any number of games.
So long as Elliott does not have the deal he is looking for in hand and he carries his holdout into the regular season, his status will be worth keeping an eye on until it changes.