Unfortunately, when the Dallas Cowboys boarded the plane headed to Oxnard, California, home of the team's training camp, Running Back Ezekiel Elliott wasn't anywhere to be seen. He was also absent on Friday, the official deadline to report, marking the official start of Elliott's holdout. Conflicting reports about Zeke's potential holdout had warned Cowboys Nation of the possibility of him missing some time of practice, but the news still brought a lot debates among fans and analysts.
Discussions surrounding Elliott range from his off-the-field issues to the current value of running backs in today's NFL. Analytics enthusiasts are doing their best to prove why running backs are being overpaid while other fans are convinced that Zeke should be on the long-term plans for this football team.
Somehow, the bottom line of said debates went from paying #21 eventually or not to the possibility of trading the 24-year old stud the Cowboys have now. The idea has been entertained by fans and even Colin Cowherd, who mentioned it on his polemical show The Herd.
Let's slow down.
I get it, Zeke holding out is frustrating. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper have yet to strike long term deals with the team and although their contracts expire after the upcoming season, they reported to camp. It would've been nice to see Elliott, who's signed through 2020, to report as well.
After 2018, some fans have the wild idea that Zeke will follow Le'Veon Bell's steps. Bell held out all season last year and forced his way into free agency to ultimately sign with the New York Jets. For some odd reason, some have jumped to the conclusion that that's what Elliott will do only a few days into his holdout.
I insist... let's slow down.
Elliott and Bell's situations are very different. For starters, Zeke is currently under contract. Bell wasn't, as he refused to sign the franchise tag the Pittsburgh Steelers had handed him. By the way, that was the second year in a row Bell had been designated to a franchise tag. In 2017, he played under the tag after holding out during training camp.
Thinking Elliott will pull a "Le'Veon" heading into his fourth year in the NFL is an overreaction. Specially considering even Bell was vocal about it prior to missing last year. He had warned us he'd skip the year.
Another reason many have jumped into the "Trade Zeke" ship is a more romantic one. Some feel like if he's more concerned about getting paid than winning football games, he shouldn't be on the team. That's a very normal way to feel about your favorite sports team. However, whether we like it or not, the NFL is a business. For players and owners alike, it is work. It is not just some game. They dedicate their lives to it.
Players in the NFL have very short careers and if Zeke knows he'll get the ball as much as he has in his first three years as a professional, it's fair for him to try to get closer to a deal with his football team. It's easy to speak as a fan, but you and I are not on that position, so the best thing we could do is try to understand Elliott's motives. Same goes for just about any player who finds himself in a similar situation.
Last but not least, you don't trade a guy who brings so much to the table when he has two years left on his contract. Two cheap years, by the way. You might think that many teams would give up enough draft capital to make such a big trade happen and hand Elliott the huge extension he's looking for, but that may not be the case. After all, the team that trades for him would have to pay such a contract.
Elliott is a very important player for the Dallas Cowboys and trading him is not the answer to his holdout. The solution could even be something other than a contract extension at this time. Zeke and his agent know what's at stake if he doesn't report by August 6th (Elliott wouldn't get his fourth accrued year toward free agency if he doesn't show up by then).
The Cowboys' star running back missing out on the first days of camp is undoubtedly a calculated move to boost current contract negotiations with a front office that might've been too busy trying to work out things with Dak and Cooper to really pay attention to Elliott.
So far, it seems like it's working. Jane Slater reported the Cowboys have already extended an offer to the running back.
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Hopefully, both sides work out things and Elliott reports to training camp late. Or in an extreme scenario, by the regular season. There are many ways things could pan out after before the season begins, but I recommend not listening to the "trade Zeke" talk in the meantime. That's nothing but an overreaction.
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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