Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott wants to finish his NFL career where it started: With the Dallas Cowboys.
In an interview with Maxim published Monday morning, Elliott broke his silence amid his ongoing contract holdout to discuss his position, his contract negotiations and his future with the franchise that drafted him.
"I love playing for the Dallas Cowboys, I love the organization, my teammates. I do want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life and hopefully that’s a possibility,” Elliott told Maxim. “But even Emmitt Smith, the greatest running back ever, ended up going to play a couple of years for another organization. So it’s just the nature of the game, but I want to be a Dallas Cowboy for as long as I can.”
Elliott is still training in Cabo San Lucas and has not joined the team since the start of training camp. He is under contract through 2020 and is set to make $3.85 million in 2019 and $9.1 million in 2020 if he doesn't receive a new deal.
According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Cowboys offered Elliott a contract that would make him the second-highest paid running back in the league. The proposed deal was worth more than Le'Veon Bell's contract with the Jets but less than Todd Gurley's with the Rams.
Elliott shared his thoughts on how he believes the market value for an elite running back has recently shifted.
"Until the very recent deal with Todd Gurley, I think there was an undervalue of the running back,” Elliott told Maxim. “But with guys like Gurley getting drafted so high, then me, and now guys like Saquon [Barkley] getting drafted in the first round, I think we’ve done a great job of bringing back the value of the position, showing the importance of the running back."
The Cowboys were informed by Elliott's representatives earlier this month that their All-Pro running back will not play in 2019 without a new contract. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said last week that he is confident a deal with Elliott will be done before the team opens the season against the Giants on Sept. 8.
Elliott leads the NFL with 4,048 rushing yards since joining the league in 2016.