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Dallas Cowboys Leadership “Not Alarmed” by Ezekiel Elliott’s Absence

John Williams



5 Questions the Cowboys Must Answer in the NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys hosted their annual "State of the Team" press conference to kick off training camp yesterday, and as you can imagine a lot of the 40-minute gathering with the media focused largely on the Dallas Cowboy's star running back; Ezekiel Elliott.

With players reporting for their scheduled physicals in the morning on Friday, Elliott was officially deemed "late" or "did not report" by the team, but one thing was evident when Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett were asked about Elliott's absence. They weren't at all concerned.

In Jerry Jones' opening remarks, he made a point to say that "every player that we have is under contract" several times. When asked by Jane Slater from the NFL Network if the Dallas Cowboys planned to fine Elliott for his tardiness, Jones deflected saying, "I've not ever made it a practice of getting into the details of how we execute our agreements (with players). Meaning that fining a player for reporting late is in the contract that the team and the player have negotiated, but Jerry Jones wasn't going to say whether or not they have opted to use that option available to them.

This is a front office that has seen it all and is used to having to negotiate and finalize contracts during training camp and so they aren't at all alarmed by Elliott's absence.

Here's what Jerry Jones had to say regarding Elliott's absence:

"I'd say there are very few conversations that Stephen and I have that at some point in that convo we're not discussing the player, impact on other players relative to the cap and financial. It's almost like getting up and turning the lights on, it's such an every day (occurrence). You livewith this all the time. And so when you don't have the player on the field, for whatever reason, then you would be discussing, "well that's why we put that in place"... "what are the repercussions?" It's not alarming... that you have to go to bed thinking about some aspect of it when dealing with the number of contracts that you are.

"So that's why I don't want to seem cavalier about it, Zeke's a great player, I don't want to seem cavalier about it, but I also don't want to be unrealistic being alarmed about it. This is what we do. This is the air we breathe. And if you flared and knee-jerked just because you have parts of it that need addressing, you wouldn't be a good managers."

Jerry Jones via

Later in the press conference, Jerry made a point to single out Jason Garrett and coaches in general because they have to live in the "next man up" world. They have to prepare for and deal with players being absent due to injury, suspension, and sometimes financial situations. Garrett reiterated this as he talked about the opportunity that arises for another player as well as giving the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate other players. At running back, in particular, Ezekiel Elliott not yet reporting for training camp provides an opportunity for rookies Tony Pollard and Mike Weber to get some reps with the first-team offense that they might not have gotten had Elliott been available.

Stephen Jones said he's "optimistic that things will work themselves out." He also talked a little bit about the natural deadline that comes with the start of the regular season about six weeks away.

The Cowboys brass understands those hold outs and negotiating new contracts with players who are under contract is part of the nature of the business that is the NFL. Stephen Jones even talked about it in the same way he does player acquisition, that it's a year-round process.

From the sound of it, the Dallas Cowboys leadership doesn't plan on addressing contract situations in their daily press conferences during training camp. Over and over they reiterated that when they're working with a player under contract on an extension, there's really no timetable and the deals get done when they get done.

While it may seem like a dire situation to have Ezekiel Elliott missing the first part of training camp as he seeks a contract extension that will likely make him the richest running back in the NFL, the Cowboys front office isn't worried.

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett each talked about what a great player Ezekiel Elliott is and Garrett especially talked about what a smart player he is. Garrett wasn't worried about Elliott missing time in training camp as it relates to picking up the offense because "he has a high football I.Q." and "had a great offseason."

At some point in the next month, Ezekiel Elliott is going to get his contract finalized and be out on the practice field with the Dallas Cowboys. More importantly, Elliott will be lined up in the backfield when the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants week one of the regular season.

They're not alarmed, you shouldn't be either. When it matters, Elliott will be there.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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Cowboys’ Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans

John Williams



Cowboys' Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans

With only two preseason games remaining, opportunities to make a statement are growing thin. The Dallas Cowboys have very few spots on the roster available, especially at the tight end position where Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz appear to have the depth chart locked down. The problem is, Jarwin and Schultz have been dealing with injuries and missed the second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams and probably won't play against the Houston Texans tonight.

Enter Marcus Lucas.

Marcus Lucas hasn't been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for very long, but he's already made an impact.

In his first preseason game with the Dallas Cowboys, Lucas caught four passes on four targets for 20 yards. His receptions went for two, seven, five, and six yards for an average of five yards per reception. He did have a holding penalty that cost the Dallas Cowboys 10 yards on a first down play that didn't go anywhere anyway.

Though Lucas has bounced around NFL practice squads, he's never really found a home. After going undrafted in 2014, Lucas was signed by the Carolina Panthers in May of that year but wasn't able to stick on the 53-man roster and was released and placed on the practice squad. In 2015, he was on the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears practice squads. In 2016, the Panthers brought him back in the summer after the Bears released him from their 90-man roster. That September after cut-down day, the Seattle Seahawks signed Lucas to their practice squad where he spent all of 2016. From 2017 to the end of 2018, Lucas spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, the Seattle Seahawks again, and the San Francisco 49ers. He was with the 49ers in 2019 before joining the Dallas Cowboys about two weeks ago and will get an extended run in these final two preseason games.

At Thursday's practice, Lucas was the only tight end available with Jason Witten getting a rest day and Jarwin, Schultz, and fellow Tight End Cody McElroy dealing with injuries.

Todd Archer on Twitter

With Jason Witten getting a day of rest, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Codey McElroy injured, the Cowboys have one tight end practicing today: Marcus Lucas, who has been with the team for about two weeks.

It's possible that Lucas may get an extended amount of playing time tonight with an opportunity to show the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL that he's ready to land on a 53-man roster. With likely only Jason Witten being the only other tight end active for the game against the Houston Texans, Lucas will get a lot of playing time. If his last preseason exposure is any indication, he'll get the chance to display his receiving prowess.

At 27, Lucas likely has few opportunities left to make his mark for an NFL franchise. On a team that proclaims the "next man up" as a battle cry, after Witten, Lucas is the next man up for tonight and depending on his performance could make the Dallas Cowboys front office or another front office around the league take notice.

Depending on the long-term health of the Dallas Cowboys' tight end position, Lucas may find his path to a roster spot simply dependent upon the health of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. Though a job may not come with the Dallas Cowboys, tonight is an extremely important audition for his next suitor. How he performs tonight could land Marcus Lucas a job after the Dallas Cowboys trim the roster to 53 next week.

They say "preseason games don't matter," but to Marcus Lucas, this might be the most important game of his career.

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REPORT: Signs Point to Elliott, Cowboys Finalizing Contract Extension

Jess Haynie



Will No Preseason Work Hurt Ezekiel Elliott's Early Season Production?

Our long Cowboys National nightmare may close to ending. According to Kevin Turner of 105.3 The Fan, there's news coming in that points to Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys soon reaching an agreement and ending Zeke's holdout.

The following was just tweeted this morning from Turner's account:

Kevin Turner on Twitter

BREAKING: Hello, talented media personality KT here, same source tells me Zeke is booked to return from Cabo tomorrow. Another source tells @Shippyfunsports the Cowboys and Zeke were in contact late last night, and that a deal could come together over the weekend. @1053thefan

We had just heard yesterday that Dallas offered Zeke a deal that would make him the second-highest paid RB in football behind Todd Gurley. Was that enough to get Elliott to sign, or perhaps the basis that Zeke's team used to make a final counteroffer which Dallas agreed to?

Hopefully we'll find out all those details very soon. For now, we can just take hope in these signs of light at the end of this contract dispute tunnel.

The Cowboys aren't the same team without Ezekiel Elliott. With so much at stake in this 2019 season, it's time to get this deal done and get ready to win.

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Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL’s Second Highest-Paid RB

Matthew Lenix



Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL's Second Highest-Paid RB

Negotiations are picking up in Dallas. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Dallas Cowboys have offered All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott a new contract that would make him the second-highest-paid running back in the NFL.

Ed Werder on Twitter

Sources: The most recent offer in negotiations between holdout Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys came from the team. Elliott has been offered a contract making him one of the NFL's 2 highest-paid RB. That would suggest team offering more than LeVeon Bell and less than Todd Gurley.

This would put Elliott just below Todd Gurley's four-year 60 million dollar deal and just ahead of Le'Veon Bell's four-year 52.5 million dollar deal. He's currently set to make 3.9 million in 2019 under his current contract. Deadlines make deals and it appears the Cowboys understand this. More to come.

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