It’s been a hectic last few days for Stephen Jones. Being one of the lead faces of the Cowboys contract negotiations, Jones has had his hands full this offseason with his three biggest offensive weapons negotiating new contracts.
One of those players looking for a new contract is running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott is the only player absent from training camp, while holding out looking for a new deal. Earlier in the offseason, Stephen Jones was on record saying that the “starting point” for Ezekiel Elliott’s new deal would be similar to what Todd Gurley received last offseason, but it sounds as if that has now changed.
While sitting in with 105.3 The Fan, Jones said that the Todd Gurley deal was the starting point for Ezekiel Elliott before Le’Veon Bell reset the running back market with his deal with the New York Jets this offseason. Bell signed a four-year, $52.5 million ($27 million guaranteed) contract with the New York Jets, after sitting out the 2018 season. To put it in perspective, Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $57.5 million ($45 million guaranteed) contract with the Los Angeles Rams before the start of the 2018 season.
With this new note from Jones, we can now get an inside look of what the Cowboys front office is bringing to the table in negotiations with Elliott and his agent. The Joneses are looking at two similar style of players in Gurley and Bell, and likely trying to give Elliott a deal somewhere in the middle. What makes this tough is Elliott wants to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL, but the Cowboys are starting to see the running back position be devalued around the NFL. The interesting thing here is, the Bell and Gurley contract are only a $5 million mil apart in terms of total money, but $18 million apart in guaranteed money, which is where the hangup could come in.
While Elliott is not in Oxnard, there is likely still work being done between the two parties to try and get a deal done before the start of the season. With Elliott’s camp threatening to hold out of the regular season, and the Cowboys standing firm on their offer, it’ll be interesting to see who budges first. Time is constantly ticking.