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Cowboys News: FiveThirtyEight says Zeke is NOT elite enough for Cowboys to pay asking price

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Ezekiel Elliott may be one of the best players in the NFL but apparently he’s not elite enough to receive huge pay day.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott Is Not Worth The Money He Wants- Josh Hermsmeyer- FiveThirtyEight
FiveThirtyEight argues that Ezekiel Elliott is not elite enough to get the money he wants from the Cowboys.

Profligate spending and contrarianism aren’t proof of incompetence, of course. Elliott on paper seems to be quite good at his job — and his appeal to Dallas might seem warranted. In 2018, Zeke led the league with 1,434 rushing yards on a league-best 304 carries, over 16 percent more than second-place finisher Saquon Barkley (261). If Elliott is worth twice as many wins to a team as a replacement-level running back would be, he’s probably worth twice the money. The problem is that having Zeke on the field isn’t worth even half a win to the Cowboys. Eric Eager at Pro Football Focus estimates that Zeke’s production in 2018 was worth just 0.2 of a win above a replacement player.

We know — and the Cowboys should, too — that rushing is not nearly as important to winning in the NFL as passing. But rushing is still a part of the game, and situational running is still critical. A back who excels in high-leverage spots can be quite valuable. It could be the case that Dallas believes it has an advantage in crucial moments with Zeke on the field that helps justify re-signing him.

Common Sense Debunks Zeke Holdout Rumors- Mickey Spagnola- DallasCowboys.com
Why the possibility of Ezekiel Elliott holding out may be a little overblown.

Funny this rumor about Ezekiel Elliott potentially not reporting to training camp on time to show how serious he is about wanting a contract extension this year didn’t come out over the weekend until after San Diego’s Melvin Gordon told the Chargers he won’t be reporting until he receives a contract extension on the final year of his deal. And I’ll stay with rumor for now, since according to folks who should know around The Star, that threat hasn’t been communicated to them.

Oh, and any coincidence in the timing of this since Elliott and Gordon were headliners at this weekend’s SportsCon event in Dallas? Oh, too, there is an NFL rule that states a player under contract (Zeke is) must report to training camp by Aug. 6 to receive that year’s accrued season? I know, details, details. Anyway, let’s look at the facts of this deal. It’s being reported the NFL rushing leader two of the past three years is only making $3.853 million in the fourth year of his rookie deal. But actually, when considering the signing bonus he received in 2016, his cap hit this year is right at $8 million. That signing bonus does count as real cash, just that he received it already.

So Zeke is not working for mere pauper’s pay. Then, since the Cowboys picked up his fifth-year option for 2020, he’s guaranteed another $9.1 million next year. And if the Cowboys needed to franchise him in 2021, that would earn him another guaranteed $12.57 million. A second franchise tag for 2022 would guarantee him a 120-percent raise, so, $15 million more. That comes to basically a guarantee of $44.67 million over four years. So my guess is, if Zeke’s guys want an extension, that’s where the guaranteed money must start on a four-year deal. That would take Zeke through age 27, meaning a new deal would be needed at 28. Look, here is the bottom line: The Cowboys aren’t letting Zeke go anywhere.

A simple reason why the Cowboys should give Ezekiel Elliott his second contract- Newy Scruggs- SportsDay
Newy Scruggs explains why he thinks the Cowboys should pay Zeke.

Fans like to point to New England and how they use running backs. Other teams don’t have the Hall of Famer Bill Belichick running their organization. Seattle built a powerhouse with running back Marshawn Lynch as the catalyst of their offense. Lynch is long gone and the Seahawks have yet to replace his production despite using a first round pick on Rashaad Penny. The Rams gave a second contract to Todd Gurley despite knowing his injury history from his college days. The Rams took a gamble and it may not pay off but they did advance to a Super Bowl with Gurley being a very big reason why. Is that worth it on the financial side? I would say yes.

The Cowboys plan to give Zeke Elliott a second contract and they should. He is a special back. You pay special players. Emmitt Smith was special. Former Cowboys guard Nate Newton and I talk about the topic of great backs all the time. Dallas was smart not to pay DeMarco Murray a few years ago because despite winning the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award I thought he was a good back who had a great year, not a great back. You pay great backs. Period.

5) Can Travis Frederick Return To Form?- DallasCowboys.com
Will Travis Frederick return to the All-Pro player he was before he suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome?

Rob Phillips: I believe Frederick will be back as an impactful starter in 2019. As optimistic as he and the Cowboys are about a full-fledged return to football, the veteran center has been very candid in explaining his recovery and the challenges ahead. All along he’s emphasized that the true test will come in training camp when the pads come on. He was on a modified workout plan during the offseason, due in part to an offseason shoulder repair that was unrelated to his GBS recovery. So, while his progress has been steady and very encouraging, he has yet to take part in a true padded practice against powerful defensive linemen. It’s something he’s really looking forward to after everything he’s been through. No question he and the Cowboys’ medical/athletic training staff have done everything to prepare.

Position Flex of Connor Williams, Connor McGovern Gives the Cowboys Options - Matthew Lenix-InsideTheStar
The Cowboys have two young, quality offensive linemen on a line that already consists of three All-Pros. Nobody has options like Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys find themselves facing an interesting situation heading into training camp later this month. They’ve stockpiled enough talent on the offensive line that now they have multiple players who can play multiple positions. This is better known as “Position Flex” around the Cowboys team facility, and it’s highlighted by Connor Williams and rookie Connor McGovern.

Williams was drafted in the second round in 2018 out of Texas. Even though he logged 28 starts at left tackle during his days in Austin, he was brought in to play left guard opposite All-Pro Zack Martin. As a rookie, he started the first eight games before suffering a knee injury Week 10 against the Titans. He struggled due to his smaller size and being a natural tackle, showing he definitely needed to bulk up if he wanted to start on the interior of the offensive line. His back up Xavier Su’a-Filo was serviceable in his absence.

However, he did start two games at right guard in place of Zack Martin and performed pretty decent. This gave him much-needed experience in case of an injury in the future. He’s shown he can adjust and be a solid lineman at more than one spot.

Roster long shots who could make noise at Cowboys training camp, including a prolific deep threat -John Owning- SportsDay
Which player could be this year’s Antwaun Woods for the Dallas Cowboys?

Coming out of Ohio State, Devin Smith was one of the most prolific deep threats in all of college football, as evidenced by his insane 28.2 yards per reception and 12 touchdowns during his senior season.

Smith leveraged his 4.4 speed to consistently get behind college defenses, where he showed impressive ball tracking skills. He has proven to have that extra gear to outrun defenders to the catch point, and his speed could be valuable on special teams - he was a talented gunner at Ohio State.

He flashed outstanding ball skills (like the one-handed catch in the above clip) but proved to be inconsistent in that area. Smith’s biggest knock coming out of college was that he relied too much on speed as a route-runner, which hurt his ability to create separation on anything but deep routes and vertical concepts.

What would you consider a successful 2019 season for the Cowboys? - One.Cool.Customer- Blogging The Boys
Making the playoffs is probably a minimum requirement to consider 2019 a success for the Cowboys, but is there more?

The question is, how do we define success?

After three straight winning seasons, simply tagging on a fourth consecutive winning season is more of a minimum requirement, but certainly not a success by itself - even if four straight winning seasons would already be quite an achievement. Only four teams in the league are currently riding a streak of four+ consecutive winning seasons:

Patriots (18 consecutive seasons with a winning record)

Seahawks (7 seasons)

Chiefs (6 seasons)

Steelers (5 seasons)

But that’s just the regular season, and despite winning only their third playoff game since 1996 last year, expectations in Dallas are for at least another playoff win, everything else would mean they have regressed.

Nicknames, authenticity and purpose: The everlasting legend of Rod Marinelli – Saad Yousuf- The Athletic
An interesting look at one of the greatest defensive minds to ever coach football and his abilities to relate to his players.

Aside from some scattered detractors, Marinelli has developed a reputation as one of the most universally respected and well-liked coaches in the NFL. He’s a player’s coach, somebody who gets the most out of the talent he’s provided and also earns the affection of his players.

When Marinelli came to the NFL in 1996 following a lengthy run in the college ranks, he was old enough to be the father of the players he coached. Marinelli celebrated his 70th birthday this past weekend, meaning he’s now old enough to be a grandfather to his players.

Even with old age — and a limp — his energy shocks his charges.

“When I first got here, I thought he was a little bit crazy, I’m not going to lie to you,” second-year defensive end Dorrance Armstrong said. “He has a different energy that I had never been around before, I had never had gotten that energy from a coach. Now that it’s [my second year], being around him is a lot easier and it’s a lot simpler.”

Cowboys' Tyrone Crawford enters diversion program to get charges from Florida bar fight dismissed, report says - Joey Hayden-SportsDay
Tyrone Crawford will be entering a program to control his temper after a bar scuffle brought upon legal troubles this offseason.

According to ESPN, the defensive lineman on Thursday entered into a diversion program to settle a misdemeanor charge resulting from a March incident at a bar in Florida.

If Crawford completes the program -- which includes counseling, attending a life class, and six months under supervised probation -- the charges stemming from the altercation will be dismissed. Crawford was charged with unlawful assembly for his alleged part in the brawl.