Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Is Jerry Jones Influencing Zeke Investigation?

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterJuly 26, 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys talks with owner Jerry Jones prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers defeated the Cowboys 34-31. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Some owners have complained about slow punishment for Ezekiel Elliott, Tom Brady will soon turn 40 and Odell Beckham's gift.


1. No special treatment for Ezekiel Elliott

At the height of the Deflategate scandal, some owners believed the Patriots would get special treatment because their owner, Robert Kraft, was such a powerful force in the NFL

That didn't happen. The NFL blasted the Patriots and handed Tom Brady a four-game suspension.

Fast-forward to now. One the most powerful owners in all of sports is Jerry Jones. Again, a number of team executives are wondering whether an owner's power is affecting the outcome of a controversial investigation.

In addition, these executives believe the Cowboys have too many players flirting with trouble. In just the past two months, two Dallas players were arrested while another received a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse program, aFOX 4 chronicled.

The biggest troubled name is Ezekiel Elliott. The NFL has now been investigating the alleged domestic violence case involving him for a year. According to a number of NFL officials, the league is closing in on a decision about whether to punish Elliott. He was also allegedly involved in a recent bar altercation.

Throughout the Elliott investigation, other owners have contacted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and stated he's being too soft on the Cowboys regarding Elliott because of Jones' popularity, several team sources explained.

Owners complaining to Goodell is nothing new. It happens all the time. Former ESPN great and current radio host Dan Patrick made that point Thursday when discussing the Elliott situation.

Patrick's information was dead-on, I'm told. But the pressure on Goodell has been more intense than anyone knows, according to sources. That could be an exaggeration, no question. What's clear, however, is that some teams feel if it wasn't for Jones' power, Elliott would have faced punishment long ago.

That could easily be false. But some owners and others believe a double standard is in play. 

Jones offered a striking defense of Elliott when he met with reporters at Cowboys camp Monday, saying, "I have reviewed everything and there is absolutely nothingnot one thingthat had anything to do with domestic violence."

That may be true, but there's no way Jones could have reviewed everything. That's impossible. Jones is appealing to the jury of public opinion. It's smart on his part.

Has Jones somehow intimidated Goodell or the NFL in the probe of Elliott? Unlikely.

Do some people in the league think he has? Absolutely.


2. Scout: Dak Prescott will win MVP over Aaron Rodgers

From an NFC scout: "This will be a tight MVP race. I think Prescott wins a close one."

Sounds unlikely. Probably is. But this scout has nailed a lot of these MVP races before. 

His MVP rankings:

1. Prescott: "I can see him getting literally twice as good as he was last season. [He] still has that great offensive line."

2. Aaron Rodgers: "Will probably win it. I know. Or [Tom] Brady. Prescott just impresses me." 

3. Tom Brady: "Insane to put him third, but I think voters will just get tired of him winning and want to give it to someone else."

4. Matt Ryan: "Always puts up big numbers."

5. Russell Wilson: "Big-time sleeper candidate."

I would add one person to this mix: Jameis Winston. 


3. Drop-off coming for Brady at age 40?

Don't see it. At all. I still see a hungry, effective and vicious Tom Brady who will obliterate the AFC East and make another Super Bowl run. This is what Brady has done for years, and it's what he'll do again despite turning 40 on Aug. 3.

That's my view. That's not the view of some people in football I speak to.

Is this the year Tom Brady finally slows down?
Is this the year Tom Brady finally slows down?Steven Senne/Associated Press

Some assistant coaches believe time is the only thing that can beat Brady, and they expect him to dramatically age this season. They believe it will be highly noticeable. That isn't my view, but some people in the sport feel that way.

I've heard various versions of this for years now. This will be the year age finally catches up to Brady. Heard it over and over, yet he keeps winning. There's no reason to believe the number 40 will stop him.


4. The stunning new CTE study

As the New York Times noted Tuesday, doctors found the degenerative brain disease CTE in 99 percent of the brains donated by the families of former NFL players, according to a new study published by the Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System. All but one—just oneof the 111 NFL players had the disease.

We know football is dangerous. We also know playing it can possibly cause long-term brain damage.

Studies continue to show that we may need to remove the word "possibly." We may be in more certain territory. Far more scary territory.


5. Bob Costas torches NFL, Bengals

It's worth a watch. Costas, speaking about Colin Kaepernick, hasn't been on fire like this in a long time. It was vintage Costas. Like, 1990s Costas. I couldn't take my eyes off of it.

It will be difficult for you to as well.


6. Union prepping for fight

I recently wrote about the ways NFL players could beat owners in the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations despite the owners having a massive financial advantage. The union knows players have to save money. That explains this tweet from the union.

They are wisely getting the message out there to players. Save your cash, starting now, because winter is coming.


7. Steelers honor Dan Rooney

Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

The Steelers will wear a patch on their uniforms to honor late owner Dan Rooney. If you didn't know him, you missed one of the great gems in NFL history. I'd call him to talk football and we'd talk about piloting for an hour. He was among the most generous, decent people I've ever known.

This quote from Maurkice Pouncey to Teresa Varley of the team's website was a nice summation of what Rooney meant to some Pittsburgh players.

"It’s going to mean so much to wear it," he said. "For me personally, I was really close to him. He was an excellent guy, a great person to be around. He knew everybody. He was really respected. I hope we can honor him as much as possible. It would mean a lot to all of us players and Steelers Nation."


8. Mark MurphyPackers will never give up home game

Packers CEO Mark Murphy told shareholders this week that the team would never trade one of its home games for a game overseas, according to SportsBusiness Daily (via Pro Football Talk). Other franchises have been fine doing this.

The Packers are one of only a handful of franchises that have a unique relationship between their home games and the fans. Yet while Murphy can say neverand that's the word he usedhe might not have a say.

The NFL makes these things enticing. It could offer the Packers something that would make it almost impossible to turn down, such as cash or more cash or maybe even a little more cash. Did I mention cash?

Murphy can say these things now, but the NFL often makes offers that teams can't refuse.


9. 600 pounds

I rarely bring up college stuff here unless it's about the greedy-ass NCAA or what pros say about college prospects, but I saw something that I just had to post.

This is Georgia running back Nick Chubb squatting 600 pounds.

Coach Kirby Smart @KirbySmartUGA

Attack The Day! #MaxOutMonday https://t.co/o01dydo4Gk




I have a feeling you'll see this guy on an NFL field one day. It's just a hunch.


10. Beckham does good deed

Odell Beckham Jr. can be a pain in the rear. He can be immature. But I've also said this before: Some of his teammates have always sworn by him. Not just as a player, but as a guy as well. I've had several of them tell me point-blank, repeatedly, that Beckham is a good dude.

Beckham fulfilling a promise to a child with cancer is, as some of his teammates reminded me, more typical of him than some of the other things he does. They always ask me to remember that.

Consider it noted.