SAN ANTONIO – Will Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott be on board the team's charter flight from Dallas to Los Angeles on Thursday or will he be vacationing abroad to try and block out a self imposed distraction? Elliott's potential training camp hold out is arguably the biggest question facing the Cowboys as they enter 2019 training camp.
The Cowboys star has hinted privately he will holdout, as first reported by Pro Football Talk, later threatening to be abroad rather in Oxnard for Saturday's first practice. The reason? Zeke wants a new contract, or at the very least, to begin negotiations on a new one.
It's a surprising demand considering Elliott has two years remaining on his original rookie deal that will pay him $3.853 million this coming season and almost $9.1 million in 2020 after the team picked up his fifth-year option. Elliott has watched as the Cowboys work on extensions for both Dak Prescott that would put Prescott among the elite as far as NFL quarterbacks, in the range of $30 million per season.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper is also negotiating an extension, but unlike Zeke, their contracts expire at the end of this season.
There is no question that Elliott opens up the Cowboys offense, not just with his running game, but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. It gives new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore another weapon to work with. However, Elliott knows that at this point in his career he will never be worth more to the team than now.
Zeke rushed for 1,434 yards last season, which was close to his rookie effort of 1,631 yards that led the league in rushing. The trouble is, he was only able to turn that into six rushing touchdowns last season compared to 15 his rookie year. Partly as a result, the Cowboys offense ranked 29th overall in red-zone scoring in 2018.
Over the last couple of days Elliott seems to have softened a bit on his holdout stance according to NFL.com, but that only means it can still go either way. Will Ezekiel Elliott be suited up on the West coast or basking is the sun on some Greek Island? We will know soon.