When the news broke that Ezekiel Elliott boarded a flight en route to Dallas from Cabo, Dallas Cowboys fans were more optimistic about him rejoining the team and participating in the remainder of training camp and possibly even their third preseason game.
With his return came rumors that he and the Cowboys were near a deal. Considering those rumors came from Jamie Foxx, I’m not sure why anyone took that as the gospel.
Foxx may have been onto something, but Jerry Jones let a simple statement create a new fence between the two parties. All Jerry said was “Zeke who?” to reporters after being asked about Tony Pollard, the impressive rookie running back. Though lighthearted, this probably wasn’t the statement to make when you’re trying to negotiate an important business deal with someone who already isn’t satisfied with you at the moment.
Understandably, Elliott and his agent didn’t find Jones’ statement amusing, but disrespectful.
As a result, Elliot came to Dallas, got some fresh braids and boarded another plane headed back to Cabo. Who knows where this is about to go. The question is real now: who needs to surrender?
The answer is Jerry Jones.
While Elliot may be a tad bit extra for going to these lengths with two seasons remaining on his rookie deal, the Cowboys literally can’t afford to not give Elliot what he wants.
If Dallas’ last 20 years were like the New England Patriots, with a handful of successful seasons, they’d have more leverage here but Dallas hasn’t been a championship-caliber team since 1995. This is the first time they’ve had a roster of this caliber, with this much talent across the board in a very long time. Dallas may win the battle by not paying Elliott, but they’ll lose the war by wasting another season, and maybe even a championship window.
The question is simple: Are the ‘Boys trying to prove a point to Zeke and save money, or are they trying to win before Jerry Jones’ time is up? Hopefully, your answer is the ladder.
Look, in the perfect world, Ezekiel Elliot doesn’t deserve to be paid right now. His performance has been spectacular, but his off-the-field issues are nearly as significant. He has been in headlines for something negative multiple times and he’s only starting his third season in the league. I get the logic, and at first, I was on Jerry Jones side. Make Zeke earn it. Make 2019 Zeke’s ‘earn it’ season, under the condition that he stays out of trouble.
But honestly, seeing Zeke and his camp staying put this far into training camp and the preseason shows that they’re not playing around, and the Cowboys have to take that into consideration.
Zeke isn’t going to budge and that becomes more clear as the days tick closer to the season. Running back’s prime years are 22-27 years old, and Zeke is 24. This contract he’s holding out for will more than likely be his money maker. His biggest contract. Though I was once critical, it’s time for Dallas to surrender and chase this championship while they can.