Dallas Cowboys fans and fantasy football players eagerly awaiting Ezekiel Elliott’s return might be waiting for quite some time.
According to NFL Network reporter Jane Slater, the two parties remain apart on “everything,” including guaranteed money and contract length. The 24-year old running back is entering the fourth year of his five-year rookie contract, and he is reportedly hoping to become the league’s highest-paid running back.
The team can fine Elliott $40,000 for each day of camp he misses. Although the negotiations don’t seem to be trending in the right direction, Zeke may not be willing to forfeit any game checks if this holdout extends into the start of the regular season.
As his contract is currently constructed, Zeke is owed $3.853 million this season and $9.099 million on the fifth-year option in 2020, according to NFL.com. If the Cowboys are willing to satisfy Zeke and make him the league’s highest-paid running back, they’ll need to go beyond the four-year, $57.5 million extension ($14.375M annually) that Todd Gurley received from the Los Angeles Rams.
During an appearance on “Undisputed” on Wednesday, Slater further explained that the Cowboys are trying to reset the market, as they believe “Todd Gurley didn’t deserve Todd Gurley money.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones certainly didn’t sound like a guy who was willing to commit a lot of money to the running back position when speaking to reporters earlier this week.
“You don’t have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl,” Jones said when comparing Elliott and Emmitt Smith. “Emmitt was the first one to do it [in 1993].”
“That’s one of the dilemmas at running back, is that the league knows that you can win Super Bowls and not have the Emmitt Smith back there or the Zeke back there,” Jones said.
Last season, his third in the NFL, Elliott led the league in rushing with 1,434 yards on the ground to go along with 567 receiving yards, and nine total touchdowns.