The Ezekiel Elliott contract saga dominates the headlines...
Head coach Jason Garrett just wasn’t feeling it when it comes to discussing Zeke and his hold out.
“We really didn’t address it at all,” Garrett said of the running back’s absence. “We talked to our team as if it were Day 1 and we [shared] what our expectations are, what they can expect from us and what we expect from them, what the schedules are and what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. That’s a big part of Day 1 from the team basis, a macro basis. We do that by unit -- offense, defense and the kicking game, and we do that by position. That’s really what we talked about as a team. Everyone is focused on what they need to do to be the best player, coach or staff member, and that’s really what we try to emphasize.”
While it’s unclear exactly where they are in contract talks, we can at least say an offer has been made.
“We’re communicating,” Stephen Jones said. “I mean, it’s not like you’re just sitting there with no communications. We’ve had communication and a lot of it. You just keep working.”
“You have to have two people to make a deal,” Stephen Jones said. “You can’t push one side forward. Some people want to see some of these contracts play out. That is just part of it. They want to see what happens to the overall receiver market. They want to see what happens to the quarterback market. Some representatives want to move faster than others. Some want to wait to be sure before they pull the trigger how they are going to advise their client. And at some point you have players who are ready to move forward, and they have enough information. And they feel good about it, and we feel good about it. And you get it done.
The ball is in Zeke’s court.
It’s unclear whether other offers have been exchanged by the two sides. In plenty of cases, the first offer made by each side helps to set the parameters, and to identify the ballpark of the respective bottom-line positions.
That said, the team’s offer always has a more tangible quality than the player’s demand. The team’s offer represents money on the table, sitting there and smiling at the player with the reality that, if it goes away, it may never return. What Elliott wants is one thing. What the Cowboys will put on the table, and whether Elliott will say no to it, is all that eventually matters. That said, the delay works to Elliott’s advantage, because urgency can get the Cowboys to through more dollars onto the table just to get the damn thing done.
What they’re saying about Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout: Is the Cowboys RB doing the correct thing by not reporting to camp? - Staff, SportsDay
The writers over at SportsDay offer up their thoughts on the Elliott holdout.
David Moore: “Executive vice president Stephen Jones, while discussing Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout, emphasized that the Cowboys have a recent history of signing players to long-term deals during training camp. He made no promises that would happen with Elliott. He made no guarantees that quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper will fall into that category. “You have to have two people to make a deal,’’ Jones said. “You can’t push one side forward. “Some people want to see some of these contracts play out. That is just part of it. They want to see what happens to the overall receiver market. They want to see what happens to the quarterback market.’’ A sense of urgency tends on both sides tends to intensify during camp as the regular season nears. “It just happens,’’ Jones said. “Most players and most people want all this to be done before the season starts.”
Should we be worried about a prolonged absence of Mr. Elliott? The staff writers over at the Mothership weigh in.
I get that Zeke wants a new contract, but he doesn’t accrue a season towards free agency if he doesn’t report by 30 days prior to the first game, so am I correct to not worry too much about his holdout? He’ll show up 30 days before the season so that he accrues that season. It would be counter-productive to him to miss that deadline if I understand this correctly. – JEFF JOYCE / SHAWNEE, KS
Bryan: In theory you’re absolutely correct, but where you need to worry is if his resolve is to sit out the entire season regardless to prove his point. For Elliott to do this, I believe he’d have to be set up well financially to take the loss. If there is any doubt that he can’t withstand losing game checks, then in my opinion he will be back for the start of the season.
Rob: Well, the Joneses don’t seem concerned about this, citing it as “business as usual” in the NFL. And they have a point. Emmitt Smith was a no-show in camp 25 years ago, though he was out of contract at the time. To answer your question, I don’t think you can just assume Elliott will be here by Aug. 6. There was a general feeling by a lot of people that he’d be here for the start of camp, and that didn’t happen. But I do believe this will get resolved eventually.
Not having Ezekiel Elliott around certainly isn’t ideal, but as Spags states - it’s not time to panic.
There are so many layers to these negotiations. The Cowboys must consider how one extended contract effects other future contracts, meaning they would also like to re-sign Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott. This is not a one-piece jigsaw puzzle. The Cowboys have to stay out ahead of contract structure rules beginning in 2020, the final season of the CBA, where the 30-percent rule affects base salary going forward from there. And there is, always remember, a hard cap. There are no luxury tax loopholes in the NFL. The cap is the cap.
Soooo, just remember, let’s not act like this is the end of the world. Look, 99 percent of players in contractual disputes eventually return. They don’t like missing paychecks paying nearly $18,000.
Darius Jackson takes majority of RB reps with Cowboys’ first-team offense as Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout continues - Calvin Watkins, SportsDay
With Elliott unavailable, it’s “next man up,” but that next man might not be who you thought it was going to be.
Jackson got the majority of reps with the first-team offense during a walkthrough practice on Saturday and he’s embracing role as a starter, at least until Elliott returns.
“I had no idea, you could never guess something like that,” Jackson said. “Coming into this camp, no matter what, I was ready to continue to prove myself as you got to do in this league day in and day out. And I’m ready for anything.”
Cowboys training camp live updates: Travis Frederick cleared to play without limitations; Darius Jackson takes first-team RB reps - Staff, SportsDay
While Zeke wasn’t there, one of his star blockers was. It was comforting to hear that the team’s All Pro center has been given the green light to practice.
In his presser ahead of practice, head coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys have given Travis Frederick, who was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome last offseason and missed the entire 2018 season, full clearance to play without limitations.
Teams don’t have to establish the run to win games, and the analytics proves it. But the run isn’t dead, either - Ted Nguyen, The Athletic
Whether Elliott’s there or not, the Cowboys running game is very important. Nguyen does a fantastic job laying it all out on the table when it comes to this heavily debated topic.
After looking at all the research and talking with experts in the field, it seems clear the hard-line philosophy of the importance of establishing the run is outdated and disproven. But there is still value in being able to run the ball. It’s a tricky balance, but in building a team, general managers and coaches have to put more emphasis on investing in a strong passing game, but at the same time, they can’t lose sight of creating an efficient run game.
The Mothership has a full list of updates, starting with a moment of anxiety for Cowboys fans when their top draft pick left on a cart.
6:03 p.m. – Trysten Hill provided the first scare of camp, but it doesn’t appear to be serious.
The rookie defensive tackle left the field on a cart, but it was only a result of cramping during practice. The Cowboys purposefully limit the contact during the first two practices of training camp so their players can acclimate to the game, and this is exactly why.
The issue doesn’t figure to limit Hill for long.
And the team was without their starting safety as Xavier welcomed Dallas-Karsyn Lily Woods into this world. Love the name.
12:12 p.m. – Safety Xavier Woods has yet to join the team in Oxnard after witnessing the birth of his baby back in Dallas. Head coach Jason Garrett said the coaches have been in contact with Woods and expect him this weekend. “He had a baby on Thursday. He’s going to come out tomorrow. Mom and baby apparently are doing well, “Garrett said. “He’s communicated with us. We anticipate him being around on Sunday.”
Darian Thompson took Woods’ place along Jeff Heath with the first team.
Here is your last chance to buy low before some of these stock prices start rising. Which players are you buying into. Hanson makes his pick, including this playmaking UFDA receiver.
Jon’Vea Johnson WR – The Toledo Rocket hit the ground running in camp and looks like he’s going to make ton of noise in #CowboysCamp . At 6’0” 192lbs and a timed 4.38 40 at his Pro Day, Johnson has the size and speed to play at the NFL level. He’s fluid in his breaks and can man the slot position. The Dallas Cowboys have a history of developing undrafted receivers and if you want to bet on one this year, Johnson is probably your guy.