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Cowboys News: Stephen Jones 'Confident' Ezekiel Elliott, DAL Agree to Contract

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 23, 2019

Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President, Stephen Jones listens to a questions from the press during the
Gus Ruelas/Associated Press

A new deal between the Dallas Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott is not "imminent," in the words of Stephen Jones but he remains sure the two sides will come to an agreement. 

"I don't think we're close because there's not a lot of activity," Jones said during his weekly show with 105.3 The Fan's GBAG Nation Friday (h/t Jeff Cavanaugh). "Right now, I wouldn't say that I feel anything's imminent." 

However, the current stalemate hasn't shaken the Cowboys executive vice president's confidence, as he elaborated on the ongoing negotiations and noted the team feels "confident things will get done. Things happen real quick, sometime[s] within hours."

In the meantime, Elliott's holdout continues. 

While the 2016 fourth overall pick hasn't publicly commented on his holdout since it began on July 26, he did retweet retired Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas providing "some things to chew on for Ezekiel Elliott haters" on Friday morning:

Joe Thomas @joethomas73

Throughout the course of NFL history, if you are the best player at your position (or clearly one of the best) when you re-sign a second contract with the team that drafted you, you usually beat the highest paid current contract at your position by 15 to 20%.

That said, the most prominent development amid Elliott's holdout has been owner Jerry Jones' "Zeke who?" jab following the Cowboys' Week 2 preseason game last weekend against the Los Angeles Rams in which rookie fourth-rounder Tony Pollard impressed out of the backfield:

Mike Leslie @MikeLeslieWFAA

Yes, Jerry Jones said "Zeke who", when asked if Tony Pollard is his "best negotiator". But... this is the full "Zeke who?" sound bite from Jerry, complete with the necessary context of his follow-up to the joke, saying the #Cowboys need both Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard. https://t.co/yDiZnlwwke

"I didn't think it was funny and neither did Zeke," Elliott's agent Rocky Arceneaux told ESPN's Chris Mortensen the following Monday. "We actually thought it was disrespectful." 

Mortensen added that Elliott was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he has been training throughout his holdout.

On Thursday, ESPN's Ed Werder reported that the latest offer between the two sides came from Dallas and was a contract that would make him the second-highest-paid running back in the league. "That would suggest [the] team offering more than Le'Veon Bell and less than Todd Gurley," Werder added. 

Following Werder's report, Thomas tweeted that offering anything below making Elliott the highest-paid running back is "just an insult":

Joe Thomas @joethomas73

If I am zeke, and the Cowboys send me an offer anything less or equal to Todd Gurley, it’s going straight to voicemail. They can’t honestly think he would accept anything less than to be the highest paid running back. It’s just an insult to even start anywhere below that number. https://t.co/QEbgXpIvkJ

Bell signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets as a free agent after holding out all of last season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the same reason Elliott is holding out now, while Gurley landed a four-year extension last summer worth $60 million ($45 million guaranteed). 

On his current rookie contract, Elliott is owed $3.85 million this season in base salary and won't become an unrestricted free agent until 2021. 

The 24-year-old two-time Pro Bowler has led the league in rushing in two of his three NFL seasons—his rookie year with 1,631 yards and in 2018 with 1,434 yards. Elliott has also topped all backs in yards per game in each of his three seasons.