Posted on July 18, 2019, by Travis Pulver

When the Dallas Cowboys lost Ezekiel Elliot for six games a couple of seasons ago, one thing became crystal clear. But without him in the backfield taking pressure off Dak Prescott, the Cowboys offense was lacking. Last year, with him in the backfield all season, they were a much better team.

His value to the organization is undeniable. However, since he has two years on his contract, the Cowboys have been slow to extend him. According to the rumor mill, that could result in Elliot not reporting to training camp on July 26.

Keith Allison/Flickr

Of course, the critical element in the whole scenario is that he is ‘rumored’ to be planning on holding out from training camp if he doesn’t get an extension. He hasn’t said anything about a holdout or wanting an extension sooner rather than later.

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But according to Pro Football Talk’s source, he is planning on doing just that.

Should the Cowboys be worried? At least one bookmaker seems to think enough of the rumor that they are offering odds on whether Elliot will miss a game because of a holdout:

  • Will Ezekiel Elliott Miss Game 1 Of The Regular Season Because Of A Holdout?

o Yes        +400

o No         -700

That translates into a 20 percent chance that he does and an 87.5 percent chance that he does not. So—which will it be?

His importance to the team is unquestioned, which would make it seem like his extension should be a priority. After the draft, team COO Stephen Jones said as much while appearing on the PFT PM podcast:

“We certainly want to get him done. He’s the straw, if you will that stirs our drink. He’s a key part of what we’re about. Those things take time to get done. They don’t happen overnight. Certainly, he’s a priority in terms of ultimately getting him signed. There hasn’t really been a timetable put on this.” 

But the problem is that the team is also due to give an extension to Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Since both are going into the final year of their current contracts, they are considered more of a priority than Elliot’s extension.

His agent has to be aware of this and must also know that teams are going to be more concerned with guys going into the last year of their contracts rather than someone with two years left. But it is also his job to maximize his client’s earning potential. For running backs, that usually means getting paid more money sooner rather than later.  

That means that to do his job he can’t care about who comes first. He has to do what he can to put his client first. Chances are, he is also well aware that Jerry Jones has blinked in the past when a star quarterback held out.

Emmitt Smith wanted a new contract back in 1993 and ended up holding out through the first two weeks of the regular season. But after the Cowboys lost both, Jones gave in, and Smith got his deal. However, would a holdout risk creating animosity that could put a damper on future negotiations?

It is entirely possible considering the issues, and attention Elliot has had off the field. 

So—will Elliot holdout? If you really want to wager on this, take the ‘No.’ Holding out just seems like a bad move at this stage. If he is going to pull that card, he’d be better off doing it next year.

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