There are all sorts of reports on Ezekiel Elliott and it’s hard to know where things stand - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys
What’s really going on with Ezekiel Elliott and his possible contract extension?
We’ve been waiting a long time for there to be some resolution with the Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott.
This saga has gone on for quite a while and has featured special guest appearances from people like Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. Holdouts can often be interesting in the NFL, but it’s hard to remember one that felt this rocky (no pun intended).
All of that seemed to be behind us though, at least on Saturday afternoon. That was shortly after it was reported that talks between Zeke and the Cowboys were “intensifying” which got a lot of people excited. Who wouldn’t want to have the NFL’s reigning rushing champion on the field next week when, you know, the season starts?
Whatever hype was experienced from that was short-lived though as Sunday brought news that “significant ground” still needed to be covered by both sides. This felt like a big-time dip after a nice ride up and roller coasters aren’t exactly my own personal preferred cup of tea.
Obstacles remain, but contract talks between Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott continue - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
So what is holding up the Cowboys from locking down Elliott?
Elliott, who has two years remaining on his rookie deal with a $3.853 million base salary in 2019, has hoped to surpass Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley as the league’s highest-paid running back. Gurley got a four-year, $57.5 million extension before last season. It included a $21 million signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $14.375 million.
The Cowboys have offered a deal that would have made the two-time NFL rushing champ No. 2 in terms of salary.
The two sides have mended some of their differences in the past 24 to 48 hours, allowing them to aggressively progress toward a deal. But how the money is paid out remains an issue, putting a snag in the momentum and resulting in silence for much of Sunday.
The Cowboys are expected to move rookie guard Connor McGovern (torn pectoral) to the injured reserve list Monday, creating an open spot — conceivably for Elliott if a deal can get done.
Time is of the essence for the game Sunday, but also in terms of holdout penalties.
Elliott is already facing more than $2.5 million in fines for missing 37 days of camp and the preseason. Once the season starts, he could be fined $226,000 for each missed game, in addition to daily fines for missed practices.
The Cowboys 2019 practice squad is set... for now.
Now that the 24 hours from final cuts is up, the Cowboys were able to re-claim their released players which cleared waivers to sign them to their practice squad.
Dallas finalized their practice squad this afternoon with 10 players: 5 on defense and 5 on offense.
QB Clayton Thorson via Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News
WR Cedrick Wilson via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic
DL Daniel Wise via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic
RB Jordan Chunn via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic
CB Mike Jackson via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic
CB Donovan Olumba via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic
TE Cole Hikutini via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com
LB Chris Covington via Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News
RB Mike Weber via Clarence Hill of The Star Telegram
OL Mitch Hyatt via Calvin Watkins of The Athletic
Phillips had himself a really nice offseason, unfortunately he won’t be in Dallas any longer.
STILLWATER -- Despite having a great training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, former Oklahoma State linebacker Justin Phillips was cut. But fear not Cowboy fans as Justin Phillips told Go Pokes that he’s boarding a flight Sunday night out to Oakland to join the Raiders practice squad.
Phillips was originally signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft, but was cut in June. Due to injury and depth issues at linebacker, Dallas re-signed Phillips just ahead of training camp and all he did was shine.
Throughout the preseason, Phillips was one of Dallas’ best defenders as he combined for 28 total tackles in four games with two passes defended and one interception. There were many people that believed that if Phillips didn’t make the Dallas 53-man roster, than the Cowboys would sign the Pearland, TX native to their practice squad. But that wouldn’t be the case as Dallas completed it’s 10-man practice squad sans Justin Phillips.
A recent Cowboy cut-down causality found himself on the best available list.
Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals surprisingly parted ways with George Iloka, who started 76 of 83 contests for the club. Since then, he’s been unable to hold on to a roster spot. He played just 116 defensive snaps with the Vikings last season on a one-year deal. The Dallas Cowboys released him Saturday.
In a more prominent role, Iloka can provide depth in the secondary, using his 6’4”, 225-pound frame to challenge pass-catchers downfield. In seven seasons, he’s accumulated 32 pass breakups and nine interceptions.
The Chargers should consider Iloka with safety Derwin James set to begin the season on injured reserve after undergoing foot surgery, per NFL Network’s Rapoport. Assuming he returns at some point in the season, Los Angeles wouldn’t need the 29-year-old to start through an entire year—just fill in for half the term.
Former Cowboys WR Dez Bryant eyeing October return.
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant seemed to be done with football. He suffered a torn Achilles very soon after signing with the New Orleans Saints last year, and a little more than a month ago he said he wasn’t eyeing a comeback.
I guess the itch to play came back as football season picked back up, as Bryant has had a change of heart. Bryant now claims that he is eyeing a return to the NFL by mid-October, completely backtracking on his previous comments regarding a return to the league.
You have to wonder, though, what NFL team wants him?
Organizations aren’t exactly falling over themselves this year to sign a 30-year-old receiver coming off a torn Achilles, though Demaryius Thomas briefly found a home with the Patriots.
Still, Bryant could at least get the opportunity to showcase his stuff once October rolls around, and if a team feels he’s in good enough shape to contribute, perhaps they’ll gamble on the former Cowboy.
Can the Cowboys live up to high expectations in 2019?
The Cowboys return four of five starters along the offensive line, with the center position being the only difference from week one of last year to this year. Travis Frederick returns after a year-long lay off and immediately upgrades the offensive line from a skill and communication standpoint. Frederick’s presence makes everything work better on the offense. Dak Prescott can trust the front of his pocket will be there when he drops back to pass and more importantly needs to step up to make a throw. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard can expect consistent excellence from the center position, which will upgrade the interior run blocking in 2019. They’ll be able to get a better push in short-yardage situations with Frederick in the middle.
Another veteran who’s returning after a year off is Jason Witten. Witten makes his return to the playing field after spending 2018 in the Monday Night Football booth. He may not be the explosive player he was in his prime, but he’s as reliable a target as there is in the NFL. Witten still has the ability to win his matchups more often than not and gives Dak Prescott another weapon he can trust in the passing game.
It’s a make-or-break year in Dallas for this former first-round pick.
What has likely been forgotten is that Taco Charlton was not a finished product when he entered the NFL draft. He was a one-year starter for the Wolverines and was drafted for his measurables namely his long armed 6-foot-6 frame.
Entering his third season, Charlton needs to show the Cowboys coaches that he has become a legitimate pass rushing threat. In the words of former head coach Bill Parcells, potential means you haven’t done anything yet.
It took Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence until his fourth season before he converted his potential into performance establishing himself as a premier pass rushing threat. Through three seasons, Lawrence had 9.0 sacks and sixteen starts.
Check out the latest episode from the BTB podcast feed as our own RJ Ochoa breaks down the 53-man roster and all the talks associated with Ezekiel Elliott on The Ocho.
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