Holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott’s representatives have told the Cowboys he won’t play this season without a new contract, ESPN.com reported Tuesday, citing a source close to the situation.
However, according to the report, the source added that Elliott not playing in the regular season is not likely at this time, given that Elliott and Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones want to get a deal done before the team’s regular-season opener Sept. 8.
On Monday, former NFL running back Eric Dickerson said on FS1’s “Undisputed” that he spoke with Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, who according to Dickerson said it was possible Elliott would miss part of the regular season but that Elliott and his representatives didn’t want that to happen.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson offered context for her report Tuesday: Her source’s information came only in response to questions about whether Dickerson’s statements were accurate.
Elliott is set to be paid a base salary of $3.9 million for 2019, and the team last month picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie contract that will pay him $9.1 million for 2020.
He earned his second rushing title in three years with 1,434 yards on a league-high 304 carries with six touchdowns last season, while adding 77 receptions for 567 yards with three touchdowns.
Elliott reportedly has been working out to stay in shape in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, according to multiple reports.
As a holdout during training camp, Elliott is subject to a fine of $40,000 per day missed. If he doesn’t report before Saturday’s preseason opener against the 49ers in San Francisco, he could be fined the equivalent of a regular-season game check, roughly $226,000. The Cowboys also could seek to recover a prorated portion of his signing bonus.
The Cowboys currently are also negotiating extensions with quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Jones last week said he thought a deal with Elliott could be reached but that it would have to allow the Cowboys to keep its most talented offensive players “under the same roof.”
NFL Network reported Tuesday that the team’s “generous” offers for the trio would put each in the top 5 “highest paid” at his position, but the Cowboys are prepared to play this season with each player on a “prove it deal.”
Additionally, I’m told they’re ready and willing to get the deals done but if the two sides can’t agree on numbers that make more sense the #Cowboys are prepared to play this season with each player on a “prove it deal.” https://t.co/Grwlg3zTV4
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) August 6, 2019
Prescott said he has been talking to Elliott in the week and a half the Cowboys have been in camp in Oxnard, California, but hasn’t tried to persuade Elliott to report.
“Friendship is friendship and business is business,” Prescott said, via ESPN. “You don’t cross those.”
In Elliott’s absence, the team signed veteran back Alfred Morris, 30, who played for the Cowboys in 2016 and ’17 and rushed for 547 yards and a touchdown in 2017, a season in which Elliott missed six games because of an NFL-mandated suspension.
The Cowboys open their regular season Sept. 8 at home against the Giants.