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If Ezekiel Elliott Must Sit, The Time is Now

Jess Haynie

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If Ezekiel Elliott Must Sit, The Time is Now

As was revealed yesterday, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott lost his injunction against the NFL's suspension and will now have to seek new legal remedies to keep playing. Elliott and the NFLPA will likely file for a new injunction as their lawsuit moves from Texas to New York, meaning nothing is certain yet about when or even if Elliott will ever have to sit out the six games.

To be clear, I want Elliott to keep fighting.

I want Zeke to win this war. But if his camp believes they're only delaying the inevitable and have little chance of true victory, then the outcome may ultimately hurt the Cowboys and Zeke himself. If the six games will be missed at some point, then right now appears to be the best time for it.

Consider where we are in the Cowboys' season. They still have 11 games to go and then hopefully the playoffs.

Here is what's left of the Cowboys' 2017 schedule:

  1. @ San Francisco
  2. @ Washington
  3. Kansas City
  4. @ Atlanta
  5. Philadelphia
  6. L.A. Chargers
  7. Washington
  8. @ N.Y. Giants
  9. @ Oakland
  10. Seattle
  11. @Philadelphia

If Ezekiel Elliott serves the suspension immediately, he will miss weeks 7-12.

There are a couple of very beatable teams there in the 49ers and Chargers; teams that Dallas should be able to handle even with Alfred Morris at running back. There are two games that Dallas might have trouble winning even with Zeke; the undefeated Chiefs and a road game against the Falcons.

Ezekiel Elliott, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

A Big Consideration Here is Division Games

Zeke would miss the first 2017 meetings with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, which hurts, but he'd be back for the rematches against all three NFC East opponents in the later part of the season. He'd also be back for tough games against the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.

Perhaps the most important issue, though, is that this would ensure Elliott would not miss any playoff games.

The threat of Elliott delaying this suspension just to end up missing postseason action has hung over this entire legal process. There is little way to control when the courts hear and decide cases, meaning you could wind up only pushing the suspension back until the worst possible time.

Again, I want for Zeke to continue to defend his reputation and rights. I want the NFL to pay for their corruption. But I also would hate to see the ultimate outcome of this fight only hurt Elliott and the Cowboys even more than it already has.

As far as I see it, Elliott has already won whatever he's going to in the court of public opinion. What happens in court now isn't going to move the needle on the people who support him or believe he was guilty. There is no new evidence to discuss when it comes to Tiffany Thompson's accusation. People have already decided how they feel about the domestic violence side of this issue.

Even if Elliott decides to stop the fight and accept the suspension, very few are going to take that as an admission of guilt. At this point, the NFL has turned itself into the bad guy.

It'll look more like Zeke simply couldn't fight the corrupt system and decided to take his losses.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Featured in 9th Annual ESPN Body Issue

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Something else to consider is does anyone, including Ezekiel Elliott, want this issue to continue into 2018?

Maybe he and the union can keep fighting and eventually push his suspension all the way to weeks 1-6 of the 2018 season. Do we really want another offseason of this cloud hanging over Zeke and the Cowboys?

2018 projects as a major opportunity for the Cowboys to contend for a championship. The young pieces on the defense--who are currently having growing pains--will be in a much better position to compete. Dak Prescott will be in his third season and likely better than ever. The same goes for Elliott.

This ultimately comes down to risk versus reward and the likelihood of victory.

If Elliott's lawyers and the union truly believe they can win this fight and Zeke never has to miss games, then go ahead and keep fighting. But again, if all we're doing is delaying the inevitable, then it seems like there is no better time to serve the suspension than now.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Lewis Johnson

    October 13, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I would love for him to take her to court and show everyone the type of person she is. He wins it then turn around and sue the NFL for not giving him a real chance to prove himself.

  2. oneputter

    October 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    if i was on zeke’s legal team, i would have pushed for a shorter suspension on conduct detrimental to the league for the st. patricks day episode and for the alleged bar fight, under they conditions they clear his name on the alleged DV charge. take a 2-3 game suspension at the beginning of the season and move forward.

  3. Robert Evans

    October 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    “He won’t miss any playoff games”? When in 2018, this Cowboys team couldn’t find the playoffs with a flashlight and a roadmap. They just blew back to back double digit leads at home vs the Rams and Packers; the defense is too young, this is a transition year for Dallas.

  4. Mike Clatterbuck

    October 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Here’s the thing, if Zeke has to serve his suspension, I agree that he should do it now. I’m a die-hard Cowboys fan. I don’t believe our season is over just because Zeke misses 6 games. We have 2 very capable running backs in Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. The offense would have to adapt. Well be fine.

  5. Ryan Pomales

    October 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    What a way to trivialize Domestic violence to cover up for ur star player. Love reading these Zeke fluff pieces written by Jones family members and Cowboy fans smh Nobody even arguing that he didn’t beat up a woman jus mad cause he can’t beat the NFL system like he does the legal system thru his MANY off the field transgressions in jus the last year alone. System is far from perfect but at least someone giving him what he deserves. Love how the fan/writer that wrote this BS been fan of the Boys since a very convenient time so I’m glad that the fair weather/band wagon years were short lived and has been many years of misery ever since..ah karma

    • Russ_Te

      October 13, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      No, not guilty is exactly the Elliott position. Guilty until proven innocent by the court of public opinion, has already wrecked his endorsements future. He’s 100% entitled to fight a very weak NFL case against him.

  6. Russ_Te

    October 13, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    I believed the Elliott team could gut the NFL findings, before it’s own case interviewer did it for them. This is a slam dunk when it goes to court, and a prudent judge would table it until the offseason. The uncertainty is already weighing on EE mentally – you can kind of see it in his demeanor.

    He has to play this out to vindication IMO, and trust that it will not cause a suspension down the road at a worse time than now. If it does, he at least did everything he could to oppose it.

  7. Don

    October 14, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Jess the way I see it if he were to take the suspension then that to me would be accepting an omission of guilt.If the legal system found nothing to charge him with and the NFL’s lead investigator (a woman) recommended they not pursue the suspension and they basically kicked her thoughts to the curb,then I hope he goes for the jugular and fights them in court big time. This isn’t going to go away until it’s settled in court. I’ve heard several reports & commentators as well as our coaches that they think this is affecting his running and I don’t see how it wouldn’t. As far as the St. Patty’s day incident as immature as it may have come across that young woman thought it was funny and said she didn’t have a problem with it and is most likely why the NFL didn’t bring that up. Zeke has a a lot of maturing to go and hopefully these incidents will wake him up and get him on the right track. He has to realize his school days are over and it’s time to grow up…!

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BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.

Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.

David Moore on Twitter

Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.

After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.

The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.

While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.

While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.

The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Wide Receiver

Jess Haynie

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Is WR Cole Beasley Being Underutilized? 1

The Dallas Cowboys' year in 2018 was marked by big moves at wide receiver. Dez Bryant was released in April and then a first-round pick was traded in October to add Amari Cooper. Could this 2019 offseason offer anything close to that level of activity?

Unlike last season, Dallas should enjoy some stability in its starting lineup at receiver. Cooper returns at a much higher price, with the $13.9 million cap hit from his fifth-year option coming into player. Amari cost just $412k against the Cowboys' salary cap last year.

That huge jump in cap cost may hurt but Cooper backed it up with his Pro Bowl play in 2018. The top WR contracts average $15-$17 million per year, so even now Dallas is arguably getting Amari at a bargain.

The Cowboys didn't give up a first-round pick for a year-and-a-half rental, so we can expect them to seek a long-term extension with Cooper in the near future. With the contracts of DeMarcus Lawrence and Dak Prescott more immediate concerns, any new deal for Amari probably won't come until the middle of the season or in 2020.

Not only is WR1 set for next year but Michael Gallup appears locked in as the other starter. Of his 68 targets last year, 40 came in the second half of the year. It was a great season for a third-round rookie, and there are high hopes for Gallup's development in his first full offseason.

The stability up front is a blessing for the Cowboys, but it doesn't relieve them of big decisions at the WR position this offseason. They face a particularly critical choice when it comes to the free agency of Cole Beasley.

Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley

It's hard to believe Beasley's already been in Dallas for seven seasons. An undrafted gem, Cole has been one of the team's most reliable offensive players for some time. He led them in receiving in 2016 and has been one of the most efficient, QB-friendly options for the last several years.

Beasley's contract expiring this year is only one issue. He has become very vocal lately about wanting to be a bigger part of the offense. His targets dropped tremendously over the course of 2018, which was especially evident when Cole got just five total passes thrown his way in the two playoffs games.

If Beasley wants a larger role, does that also mean he wants more money? He was making a little over $3 million/season on his last deal.

With Gallup on a cheap rookie contract, Dallas could afford to pay raise Beasley's compensation a bit. But if they don't plan to use him more than they did last year, then perhaps the two parties just aren't a good fit at this point.

If Cole walks in free agency then the Cowboys will now have to find a new number-three receiver. The next best option would be Tavon Austin, but he is also a free agent. However, he could likely be re-signed for a fraction of what Beasley would want.

Austin has the physical skills to be an offensive weapon but he doesn't have the reliable hands that Beasley does. Even if Dallas wants Tavon back solely for his skills on punt returns, they may not be ready to make him a bigger part of the offense.

Could WR Noah Brown Help the Cowboys at Tight End?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown

One option might be promoting Noah Brown, whose at times has reminded us of a young Dez Bryant with his physical playing style. His blocking ability would lend itself to the single-back formations Dallas likes to run out of, and he's flashed some good hands in limited opportunities.

In that scenario Amari Cooper would likely play out of the slot, which he's certainly capable of with his quickness. The same would be done if Dallas went with another internal solution, such as Allen Hurns or Terrance Williams.

That said, the Cowboys are unlikely to pick up the second-year option on Hurns' contract, not wanting to pay him over $6 million in 2019 after last year's low production.  It also doesn't seem likely that they want to keep Williams after last year's issues.

Taking all of that into consideration, Dallas may very well be doing some WR shopping in free agency. Fortunately for them, it's a favorable market if you're looking for a slot receiver.

On top of Beasley and Austin already in the free agent pool, Golden Tate could at least match Cole's play if not potentially offer an upgrade. Baltimore's John Brown, Tampa's Adam Humphries, and Washington's Jamison Crowder are all other proven options. Emmanuel Sanders, while not currently a free agent, is a very possible cap casualty for the Broncos.

Guys like Humphries and Crowder are younger than Beasley and could provide better long-term value on their contract. That may be a more attractive option at this point for the Cowboys.

Lance Lenoir

Dallas Cowboys WR Lance Lenoir

Dallas won't need to add a lot of bodies at WR thanks to a few young prospects. They still have Lance Lenoir and Cedrick Wilson under contract, plus signed 2015 second-round pick Devin Smith as a potential rehabilitation project.

But again, these guys are all just bodies right now. Lenoir has had his opportunities and not done much with them, though he does offer some value as a potential return man. Wilson spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

The Cowboys could still look at a receiver with one of their mid-round draft picks, but it's hard to get much production early there. Last year's play from Michael Gallup was a surprise for a third-rounder.

It's far more likely that Dallas will either work things out with Cole Beasley or pursue a veteran replacement in free agency.

So no, thankfully, we don't have to worry about any monumental changes at the top of the WR depth chart in 2019. But Beasley was more than just a third receiver, and keeping or replacing him will have a significant impact on the offense going forward.

If Dallas is truly ready to commit to Dak Prescott as the quarterback of the future then they can't take anything about his receiving options lightly. Therefore, wide receiver remains an important offseason focus for the Cowboys in 2019.



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Defense, Not Offense, Should Be Dallas Cowboys Offseason Focus

John Williams

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Last week our own Brian Martin asked whether offense or defense should be the priority for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. We know that the team will look to make some additions on both sides of the football to help their team take the next step toward hopefully contending for a Lombardi Trophy in 2019.

Brian took the stance that the Cowboys front office brain trust of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Will McClay along with Head Coach Jason Garrett should prioritize the offensive side of the football.

Here’s what he had to say:

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys really don't have any glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball either. After finishing as one of the top defensive units in 2018, they will have nearly all of their starters returning for the 2019 season. But much like on the offensive side of the ball, there could be two starting spots up for grabs...

...If Cole Beasley does indeed leave via free agency, that's a big blow to the passing game. But, it's not just him. Other than their rushing attack, the Cowboys offense was ranked in the bottom half of the league in nearly every other category. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan now gone we can hope that improves, but that doesn't mean improving the offense shouldn't be the Cowboys main offseason focus though.

Brian Martin - Inside The Star

I get his reasoning, though I disagree with the first point being made. Yes, the defense has a lot of really good players that are developing, but I think there a couple obvious areas where upgrades can be made. First, at safety, where Jeff Heath continues to be a frustrating player, as evidenced by the final play against the Rams. Secondly, the defensive tackle spot could definitely use an infusion of talent.

I believe the priority needs to continue to build on a defense that was surprisingly good, and downright dominant in their win over the New Orleans Saints, in 2018. However, despite finishing sixth in the NFL in points allowed, seventh in yards allowed, and fifth in rushing yards allowed, they were middle of the pack against the pass and had the sixth worst third down conversion percentage allowed.

They were a defense that got away with being excellent against the run and excellent in the red zone, allowing a touchdown only 51% of the time their opponent reached the red zone. They allowed the sixth fewest touchdowns in the NFL, and yet when they got into the playoffs, they weren’t nearly as good.

Sure, they held the Seattle Seahawks top ranked rushing attack in check for the game, holding them to only 73 rushing yards. The Seahawks threw for only 226 yards, but there offensive staff was insistent on running the football even though Russell Wilson was playing pretty well in the second half. The Seahawks were hitting the Cowboys for big plays that allowed them to make the game closer than it should have been. Had they tilted the run-pass ratio a bit more to put the ball in Russell Wilson's hands earlier in the game, it's possible that the game has a different outcome.

Against the Rams, we saw the Dallas Cowboys interior get bullied while both CJ Anderson and Todd Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards. Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods were good for a lot of the year as the primary defensive tackles for the Dallas Cowboys, but with them ailing because of injury and illness, the Cowboys didn't have many answers for the Rams offensive interior. Their ineffectiveness in the divisional round led to Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee being generally ineffective as well.

While the Dallas Cowboys can feel pretty good about what the defense did last season, there's no way they can go into the 2019 season satisfied with what they'll be working with. In addition to playing the their NFC East opponents twice, with the Eagles and Giants able to score points and the Redskins typically a tough matchup, they'll play the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Rams, the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints, and the Detroit Lions. All of those teams are capable of scoring a lot of points if the defense isn't having its best day. Throw in teams like the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Chicago Bears, and you have three young offenses that are growing and fully capable of scoring points as well.

The Dallas Cowboys front office has to go into the offseason ready to make upgrades to their defensive personnel. With the safeties that are available this offseason -- Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, Tre Boston, Tyrann Mathieu, and several other intriguing names -- the Cowboys will have an opportunity to upgrade the safety position. Between the draft and free agency, defensive tackle will be a high priority position for the Cowboys.

I know that many are looking at the offense and the steps that they need to make moving forward to be legit contenders, and they do have some improvements to make, but they look to be a unit that is trending in the right direction. Some better coaching for Dak Prescott and the offense should help them moving forward. A full offseason for Dak to work with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz should improve the chemistry between Prescott and his top receiving threats.

Yes, there are areas that need to be upgraded on offense and they may have to deal with filling the gap left by Cole Beasley if he does leave. The front office, however, can't go into the offseason satisfied with where they sit on the defensive side of the football. They are building something and are a couple of pieces away from having a truly elite defense. Finding those couple of pieces -- a safety and a pass rushing defensive tackle -- are of the utmost priority this offseason if the Dallas Cowboys want to head back to the postseason in 2019.



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