According to sources close to the situation with Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys running back is willing to sit out the 2019 NFL season if a new contract is not reached. The news comes in the midst of a training camp holdout, where Elliott is refusing to report to camp without the new contract.
Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers dealt with a similar situation when running back Le’Veon Bell refused to play, as he was seeking a long-term extension with the team. The situation between the Cowboys and Steelers are different, as the Steelers kept using their franchise tag on Bell instead of signing him.
Hardcore fans of the NFL are generally opposed to the idea of the franchise tag. It allows organizations to keep a firm hold on a player for the bulk of their career, while not allowing long-term commitment and guarantee to the player. If a team signs a player to a normal rookie contract, and then uses the allowed number of tags, an organization could be in complete control of a player for the first seven years of their fragile NFL career.
With the Cowboys, Elliott has two years remaining on his rookie contract. For a player to have so much time left on a rookie contract, it says miles about his character when he’s willing to sit out and escape to Cabo while his teammates train in the scalding Texas weather.
The argument to defend Elliott is that he’s undoubtedly the driving force for the Cowboys offense, which is about to overpay for the services of quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper. Elliott has every right to feel entitled to a new deal, especially given his offensive production his first three seasons.
Elliott is set to make $3.853 million this season and $9.09 million next season. His average annual salary is currently ranked 10th in the league. If the Cowboys pay on production and market value of that production, then Elliott is looking at making over $13 million a year, on annual average.