With the 2019 NFL season set to start in two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys and star running back Ezekiel Elliott are still at a stalemate. However, a recent report suggests that the Cowboys are willing to pay big money to keep Elliott in Dallas – albeit not enough to make him the league’s top earner at his position.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Ed Werder took to Twitter where he cited unnamed sources and wrote that the Cowboys offered Elliott a contract that would make him one of the two highest-paid running backs in the NFL. Werder added that the rumored contract would have put Elliott right behind the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley ($14.4 million average per year) and ahead of recent New York Jets free-agent signee LeVeon Bell ($13.1 million).
As it stands, Elliott’s current contract will pay him a base salary of just $3.9 million for the upcoming 2019 NFL season, according to Bleacher Report. As the Cowboys already exercised the fifth-year option in Elliott’s rookie contract, the running back is scheduled to earn $9.1 million in 2020, per the terms of his existing deal.
As further cited by Bleacher Report, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said last month that the team is not planning to offer bigger contracts to its three top offensive players, namely Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Unlike Elliott, who skipped training camp and preseason play as part of his holdout, Prescott and Cooper have taken part in team activities as Dallas prepares for the start of regular-season play on September 5.
“We’ve got three really good football players that we’re dealing with here and that have very good representation,” Jones was quoted as saying. “And they want to see the market. We can’t push the issue unless we want to be a market-setter. And we’re damn sure not going to be a market-setter.”
Are you comfortable making Ezekiel Elliott one of the league’s top two most-paid running backs? https://t.co/FXPcsy0fPR— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 22, 2019
Furthermore, Stephen Jones’s father, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, seemingly fanned the flames over the weekend by saying “Zeke who?” when reporters asked him about Dallas’s current situation at running back. He then followed up by clarifying that the remark was meant as a “joke” at Elliott’s expense.
According to ESPN, neither Elliott nor his agent found the comment funny, with the 24-year-old former first-round pick specifically finding it “disrespectful.”
Ezekiel Elliott isn’t the only top NFL running back who remains deadlocked with his team while trying to negotiate a new, more lucrative contract. As noted by CBS Sports, Melvin Gordon has yet to come to terms with the Los Angeles Chargers as he heads into the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $5.6 million for the 2019 season.