Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott

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Are You With Zeke’s Holdout Stance Or Against It? It’s Complicated!

Kevin Hageland
August 22, 2019 - 7:39 am

The other day a friend asked me, “What’s your take on all the Zeke business.”

My response, “I’m really conflicted.”

Don’t worry, I would give a better explanation, but that’s what it boils down to me. I understand both sides and wish this issue was more black and white, so I could rant and rave more during (shameless plug alert) The K&C Masterpiece 7-11pm weeknights on 105.3 The Fan. After all, isn’t that what sports media is all about?

At the heart of the matter is the fact I’m a Cowboys fan and I see 2019 as a potential Super Bowl team, so yeah, I am frustrated with Ezekiel Elliott using his moment of maximum leverage and potentially ruining the season (with all due respect to Tony Pollard) so he can make more millions on top of the millions he already makes.

As someone who has lived in the Metroplex and been a Cowboys fan all my life, while also never making anything near a million dollars, I understand every bit of that frustration … especially since Zeke still has two years left on the deal he agreed to.

HOWEVER.

I understand the Zeke side as well.

He has only made $4.75 million his first three seasons in the NFL and is only set to make a combined $12.95 million in the next two.

You might find my use of the word only preposterous in that last paragraph. Consider this though; Zeke led the league in rushing two of his three seasons, so it’s understandable he would look at the fact three running backs make at least $13 million per season (Todd Gurley of the Rams, Le’Veon Bell of the Jets and David Johnson of the Cardinals) and want an increased piece of the salary cap pie. Especially since this will be his only shot to truly get paid.

Seriously, this is it!

People are thrilled that linebacker Jaylon Smith just signed a 5-year extension (and I am too) and aren’t upset that neither wide receiver Amari Cooper nor quarterback Dak Prescott have inked long terms deals cause none of them had been missing any training camp time. But think about that a little more - in each of those situations the player in question will reach free agency around the age of 30. Quarterbacks, wide receivers and, to a slightly lesser extent, linebackers can still get another big payday at 30.

Not running backs.

Nope, after this next deal, Zeke will be close to done and, quite frankly, lucky to get many more prolonged looks in the league let alone have the ability to make a bunch more money.

So yes, Cowboys Nation, I am very frustrated Zeke hasn’t been with the team and I’m sure that frustration level will grow exponentially if he isn’t on the field Sept. 8 versus the Giants and beyond. But, I also understand the concept of leverage and why Zeke is doing what he is doing now. It’s just smart business.

There it is.

I wish I could rant and rave, bashing either Zeke for being selfish or Jerry Jones for not ponying up the dough, but we are stuck in this odd sports gray area … and I’m not even sure I used the right version of grey, that’s how perplexed I am.

But I remain hopeful the deal will get done before it’s truly go time and will still welcome Zeke back with open arms … as I suspect most Cowboys fans will … once he breaks off that first game-changing run.