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Cowboys News: Jerry Jones Talks Ezekiel Elliott Holdout, Emmitt Smith Comparison

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2019

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott warms up prior to an NFL football game against Washington Redskins, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Mark Tenally/Associated Press

As Ezekiel Elliott continues to hold out for a new long-term contract, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is wrestling with how to pay his star running back and keep the core of his team together. 

In an interview with CBS 11 Sports, Jones explained the situation Dallas finds itself in by wanting to make Elliott happy while also dealing with other key players who are nearing free agency. 

"You've gotta do all of the things along with having Zeke that allow you to have other players so that you can win the Super Bowl," Jones said. "That's what we're going through."

One point Jones brought up was how Emmitt Smith became the first player to win a rushing title and a Super Bowl in the same season when he accomplished the feat in 1993. 

"The point there is, you don't have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl… Emmitt was the first one to do it," he said.

Elliott still has two years remaining on his rookie contract, which presents the Cowboys with a problem because they have multiple key players entering the final year of their deals. 

Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott and Byron Jones can become unrestricted free agents after the 2019 season, and Jaylon Smith will be eligible for restricted free agency. 

Per Spotrac, the Cowboys currently have $127.6 million in salary commitments for 2020. Salary Cap Crunch estimates the cap number next year will go up to $189.04 million. 

Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported Elliott is seeking a deal in excess of Todd Gurley's four-year, $57.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Rams that was signed last year. 

Elliott is one of the few running backs in the NFL who could argue he's the most important offensive player for his team. The Cowboys won the NFC East in 2016 and 2018 when Elliott led the league in rushing yards. He also had an NFL-high 381 touches for a career-best 2,001 yards from scrimmage last season.

Dallas has time to work out a deal with Elliott since its first preseason game isn't until Aug. 10. The team will begin the defense of its NFC East title on Sept. 8 against the New York Giants.

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