- Ezekiel Elliott is the centerpiece of the Cowboys’ offense. How much longer will this contract standout between Dallas’s owner and their prized running back continue?
Shrewd business move cloaked in trademark wildcard tycoon panache, or detrimental roster building mistake? The Cowboys are about to find out.
On Thursday night, Jerry Jones coolly declared that the centerpiece of their offense, Ezekiel Elliott, is probably going to miss some games. This, with the regular season opener against the division-rival Giants a little more than a week away.
“He can‘t and won‘t miss them all,” Jones said, via USA Today. “We need Zeke. We’re a better team with Zeke. But we need to be able to win when we need to without players because of injuries, suspension or in this case, hold out.
“As I’ve said, this is a marathon.”
With Jones allowing the holdout to extend this far, it’s clear how he sees the leverage. Conventional wisdom says the Cowboys have at least a marginal advantage in talent over five of their first six opponents (Giants, Washington, Dolphins, Saints, Packers, Jets)—or enough to make his case in the court of public opinion that Elliott is worth exactly what Dallas offered him on a below-market long-term deal. If Elliott waits any longer than that to come back, he faces some pretty significant contractual implications.
Meanwhile, Elliott’s remaining counterpunch lies in the possibility that their run game completely stalls over that stretch, making his value evident. What, if anything, will Tony Pollard, Darius Jackson and Alfred Morris have to say about that?
It feels like an uphill climb given Jones’s ability to frame and manipulate the discussion. Even if Elliott’s value is painfully obvious, how many Cowboys fans will side with a generational back who wants to reset the market at the position?
That being said, how might Jones react if Dallas is sliding frantically into a game against the Saints in New Orleans on prime time television to close out the month of September?
NOW ON THE MMQB: On Keanon Lowe, the former Oregon wideout who defined bravery while facing an all-too-common menace in today’s society… Darrell Bevell bounces back again, this time in Detroit. … Is the NFL’s offensive revolution all that revolutionary? Kyle Shanahan doesn’t think so.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Who is behind all of those weird Ezekiel Elliott billboards in Philly? … PODCAST: Can Andrew Luck set a new tone for mental health? ... NFL 100: A CENTURY OF PRO FOOTBALL.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick is your opening day starter for the Miami Dolphins.
2. Chip Kelly and UCLA lose their season opener to Cincinnati.
4. Danny Dimes bows out of the Giants’ preseason still on fire. What does it mean?
5. Who survives roster cut downs in Cleveland?
Whichever way your pleasure tends/If you plant ice you’re gonna harvest wind
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