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Cowboys news: RB Ezekiel Elliott a “no show” at first day of training camp

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Minicamp Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Rumors: Ezekiel Elliott, DAL Not Close to New Contract as Holdout Looms - Adam Wells, Bleacher Report

It’s a gloomy day in Dallas with Elliott not in Oxnard, California.

In search of a new contract, Ezekiel Elliott is still missing from Dallas Cowboys training camp as the team prepares for its first conditioning drills on Friday.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Elliott and the Cowboys have not been close in their recent discussions about a long-term extension:

The likelihood of an Elliott holdout picked up steam on Thursday when NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported the two-time Pro Bowler wasn’t on the Cowboys plane going to their training camp location in Los Angeles.

Slater reported Friday Elliott has not arrived for the morning physical or conditioning run, adding that the team can now fine him at their discretion.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has said they hope to work out a new deal with Elliott, but he didn’t want to put a timetable on anything happening.

The Date to Know in the Zeke Holdout - Pat Doney, NBC DFW

Zeke isn’t in Oxnard, but he may be getting his bags packed.

There is one potential date you need to know in the Ezekiel Elliott holdout from training camp while the Cowboys star running back tries to land a new contract with Dallas.

That date is Aug. 6, and here’s why it matters.

If the Cowboys and Zeke cannot come to a contract extension agreement in the next two years – and he is under contract with Dallas for two more years – he would obviously want to become an unrestricted free agent at that point.

That would allow him the opportunity to get as much money as he possibly can on the free market. That makes sense.

But, under the collective bargaining agreement, a player needs to have four years of service to become a free agent in the NFL. And this is the important part -- in order for a season to count toward a player’s “years of service,” that player has to be at training camp 30 days before the regular season begins.

Camp Updates: Gregory’s Status; Fine For Zeke? -

Get your training camp updates for multiple Cowboys.

12:47 p.m. PT – Suspended defensive end Randy Gregory is not with the Cowboys in Oxnard, however, he met with Jerry Jones on Thursday.

“I visited with Randy – had a good visit with him. I do feel he’s doing the things and it’s getting recognized by the the decision-makers to really improve and be a productive player in the NFL.”

Jones said he doesn’t know when, but anticipates Gregory will apply for re-instatement in the near future.

Jones mum on goals for Garrett to earn extension -

There’s no signs of Jason Garrett being on the hot seat, but these comments may change that.

OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones wants Jason Garrett to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys beyond 2019, but the owner and general manager did not say what Garrett has to do to earn an extension.

”There’s no secret that the guy to my right here, I want to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for as long as I’m around to spell it,” Jones said during Friday’s state of the Cowboys press conference. “That would be my goal -- and that’s no secret, and many of you have written about it in various ways, so let’s see what’s ahead.”

When pressed as to what Garrett would have to do, Jones demurred.

”What did you say,” Jones joked. “I really didn’t hear you. I really didn’t hear you. There’s a drill going on back over there. Next question.”

Front Office Optimistic All 3 Deals Can Be Done - David Helman,

There may be zero issue with the Cowboys paying all three of their offensive weapons.

As Jones and other Cowboys officials have been sure to point out, this isn’t uncharted territory for anyone. Contract negotiations are a routine part of NFL life, and the Cowboys have made a habit of getting their deals done during training camp.

Typically, those deals have been singular. Tyron Smith re-signed in the summer of 2014, while Travis Frederick followed in 2016 and Zack Martin’s new deal came in 2018.

This time around, the goal just might be to do three in one summer. With $24 million in cap space, Jones said that’s completely plausible.

“We’re in great shape for this year, where we sit. I don’t know that it’s strategically better to do any one of the three,” he said. “The only thing everybody wants to point to is that Zeke has this year and an option year left, and the other two are out after this year. If you want to call that a pecking order, then fine. But we’ve also made it real clear we’d like to sign Zeke long-term.”

2019 NFL Training Camp battles: Do Cowboys have a solution at safety? Let’s take a look - Jared Dublin, CBS Sports

With training camp set to kick off, here are the battles to keep an eye on.

Save for a check-in on the health of the still-unsigned Eric Berry, the Cowboys have not shown any interest in bringing in another safety. Instead, it appears they’ll head into the 2019 season with Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath as their starting safeties, with Iloka, Wilson, and Kavon Frazier working in behind them. In other words, they’re going to roll with pretty much the same safety group as they’ve had for the past two years. And that’s a curious decision, to say the least.

Woods is a respectable starting safety, and probably around a league-average player for his position. (His overall grade from Pro Football Focus last season was 70.5, which ranked 36th out of the 67 safeties who played at least 500 snaps.) Woods has experience playing outside corner, in the slot, and as both a free and strong safety, and that versatility serves the Cowboys well. Due to his size (5-11, 202 pounds), he is better in coverage -- especially in short zones -- than he is at coming up and playing the run, but he’s a solid enough tackler to drop down into the box on occasion.

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