It feels like Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout has lasted a month. That’s how these things tend to go.
The NFL’s leading rusher in two of the last three seasons has indeed not reported to the team’s training camp and the Cowboys are almost at double-digit practices. There seems to be no sign that Elliott is on the way, but Monday is August 5th. That means that Tuesday is August 6th.
It had previously been reported by many that August 6th was a deadline of sorts for Elliott in his quest towards free agency (if his holdout was ever intended to get him there). If he does not report to camp by the 6th then he wouldn’t gain an accrued season in 2019 which would have theoretically delayed things for him by a year as that lost season would be necessary.
NFL contracts can be a tricky thing and that was clearly the case here with Elliott. The mothership’s Mickey Spagnola noted after Sunday’s blue and white scrimmage that he conferred with the people in the Cowboys “upstairs” and that August 6th would actually have no affect on Zeke as far as absolutely forcing him to be there this season.
After Sunday's blue and white scrimmage @Spags52 noted that the August 6th deadline that's been discussed actually doesn't affect anything with regards to Ezekiel Elliott's potential free agency.— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 5, 2019
(via @dallascowboys) pic.twitter.com/ljeONWMMlC
Many have thought that Elliott had no leverage past this point and that he would have to report, but if he doesn’t then his holdout could last significantly longer which could be what helps stir some change for him. Missing the deadline doesn’t hurt him this year, but it could be an impediment down the road.
“What’s happening and what are the details here?”
Ezekiel Elliott is a first-round pick and had his fifth-year option picked up. He’s already played three years of that total deal and needs a fourth season to get to free agency. As he has two years remaining, which is the point Spagnola made, he can pick up that fourth year during either the 2019 or 2020 seasons. That’s why August 6th, 2019 isn’t a point of absolutely no return for him.
It’s important to note that should Elliott not report by August 6th that then the real and true deadline would be next year’s report date as a fourth year would then be necessary; however, a year is a long time from now. Zeke could theoretically extend his holdout all the way there if he wanted or felt the need to, and obviously the 2019 season falls in that window.
August 6th of this year is significant as it would limit Elliott’s options moving forward, but the important distinction is that it isn’t a day that he absolutely must report by or face serious consequences in the here and now. Missing the deadline would simply limit his maneuverability down the line. It’s obviously about Zeke weighing his options and deciding what is best, and up until now that has included holding out.