The Dallas Cowboys will report to training camp at the end of this week. However, one player may not be with the team. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is contemplating a holdout that could affect the Cowboys’ chances of making the NFL postseason.
Last season, Elliott rushed for 1,434 yards and averaged over 95 per game. His nine total touchdowns helped lead Dallas to a 10-6 record and first place in the NFC East. If Elliott holds out and it bleeds over into the NFL regular season, the Cowboys would most likely turn to Jordan Chun or Darius Jackson in the backfield. The latter has only rushed for 16 career yards while Chun is on a reserve contract. Fans should be worried. What can Dallas do besides pay Elliott and get the running back in camp?
Does Elliott deserve a pay raise?
The running back has not decided on whether or not he will actually holdout, according NFL.com. Elliott is going into his fourth year as a Cowboy. His desire to receive more money is understandable as running backs average the fewest years of any NFL player. Running backs average just over 2.5 years in the NFL before retiring as the wear and tear on their bodies mount.
Elliott is headed into the fourth year of a four-year, nearly $25 million contract. The Cowboys hold a fifth-year option on Elliott. The former Ohio State Buckeye is the 10th highest paid running back heading into the NFL in 2019.
Despite being paid the 10th most, Elliott is coming off of a season in which he led the NFL in rushing yards. He also had the most attempts, 304, as the Cowboys rode the workhorse to the playoffs.
Dallas Deja Vu
The Dallas Cowboys have experienced this situation nearly 30 years ago with Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. In 1993, the rusher held out for a new contract, skipped the first two games of the Cowboys’ season, both losses, until he got paid, then returned and led the team to a Super Bowl win.
Like Elliott, Smith held out the summer after leading the NFL in rushing. In 1992, Smith ran for 1,713 yards and 18 touchdowns. Smith held out in his fourth NFL season, similar to Elliott’s possible holdout this summer,
The NFL great was set to make a mere $465,000 in his fourth season with the Cowboys. When the Cowboys finally caved into Smith’s demands, which he deserved the new contract, the running back received £13.6m over four-years.
Will the Cowboys Cave?
Elliott is deserving of a new contract and to receive a deal more in tune with Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley’s average of over $14m a year. The fact that New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy are paid more than Elliott is a travesty of justice.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may not be one to cave in to the demands of Elliott, if the running back does in fact holdout. He does know just what can happen if his running backs are happy, however. Elliott could do just the same as Smith did in 1993 when the Cowboys won the Super Bowl after a 12-4 record.