The Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott are mired in a dispute at the bargaining table, and the star running back has taken umbrage with owner Jerry Jones’s ill-advised quip.
In Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys have three crucial players on offense they must re-sign in the near future. Though the Cowboys could conceivably tag one of those players, it would behoove them to get a deal hammered out as quickly as possible.
Negotiating with Elliott has been difficult thus far, and there are rumblings that the running back is serious about following in Le’Veon Bell’s footsteps by sitting out the 2019 season to avoid an injury. Elliott is heading into the final year of his rookie deal before his fifth-year option kicks in, but he would like to shatter Todd Gurley’s standing as the highest-paid back in the league.
Although the Cowboys need to take Elliott’s demands seriously after the former Ohio State star rushed for over 1,400 yards as the team’s best player in 2018, owner Jerry Jones made a joke diminishing Elliott’s importance. After Tony Pollard’s decent, but not earth-shattering, preseason display against the Los Angeles Rams, Jones quipped, “Zeke who?”
Some fans may have found Jones’s comments funny, but Elliott was hardly amused. Per ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen, Elliott’s agent said, “I didn’t think it was funny and neither did Zeke – we actually thought it was disrespectful.”
Elliott has a point. Pollard is a fine player and had a strong showing with 42 yards and a touchdown on five carries, but the Cowboys leadership really shouldn’t be poking fun at a player who helped carry the team’s weak passing attack to the postseason in 2018. Among the top three running backs in the NFL, Elliott has been a workhorse for the Cowboys, and insulting a player during tense negotiations is hardly a wise move.
In fact, it’s reminiscent of what incompetent Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen did to Kirk Cousins. He would refuse to call Cousins by his real first name, instead calling him “Kurt” during their own tense negotiations. Cousins since left Washington.
Though Cousins is a quarterback, Elliott is even more valuable to the Cowboys success than the current Minnesota Viking was to Washington. Jones has made plenty of missteps in the past by putting his foot in his mouth, and while this was a small error, it was an unnecessary remark that ultimately serves no other purpose than antagonizing Elliott even further.
With Elliott and Cooper on offense and an improved defense, the Cowboys have the nucleus to win a Super Bowl in the near future, especially if Prescott continues to make strides under center. Jeopardizing that would be another blemish on Jones’s resume.