As you've likely heard already, there are rumors floating over the last 24 hours about Ezekiel Elliott facing a minor suspension in 2017. While we at Inside The Star don't put much stock in the rumors at this time, it's out there and we need to take a look at it.
While nothing has come from the NFL or the Dallas Cowboys about Elliott missing games, those good ol' "sources" are citing Zeke's alleged domestic violence incident from 2016 as the basis for the suspension. The NFL has been investigating this matter for almost a year now with no reported updates.
The first ripples in the water started Thursday evening with this Tweet from actor and sports enthusiast Michael Rapaport, who does work with Barstool Sports and has appeared many times on podcasts and other media with "The Sports Guy" Bill Simmons.
Sources are telling Zeke Elliot getting suspended for weed & Melo trade is going down today.
While it appears Michael was wrong on both fronts, it's interesting that his tweet came just hours before the Elliott rumors really got cooking. How marijuana got into the picture is unknown, but perhaps the source heard about a Cowboys player being suspended and just assumed it would be weed-related. Given Dallas' recent history, that wouldn't be the worst guess.
Things really heated up when the rumors started being reported yesterday by ESPN's Adam Schefter and other more established NFL news breakers. Now domestic violence and the ongoing investigation entered the picture.
The NFL's domestic violence and personal conduct policies make this a much bigger concern than a drug suspension. Even without a court finding or filed charges, the NFL can still suspend a player if they simply believe something happened. We saw this happen with Greg Hardy just two years ago.
According to ESPN, Elliott is preparing for the worst. With how long things have dragged on, there's a sense that the NFL is desperate to pin something on one of the brightest stars from its most popular franchise. What better way to send a message:
"Here, watch us drop the hammer on a superstar running back. That makes up for what happened with the other running back a few years ago, right? Right?!"
To be fair, the NFL may have some form of evidence that will eventually have a lot of us eating crow. But it's hard to fathom why the league would just keep sitting on any concrete evidence about domestic violence. The only reason I can come up with is that they don't want to repeat the botched handling of Ray Rice, passing one sentence and then having to revise it when new information was made public.
Many Cowboys fans and analysts, including this site, are skeptical. One noted Cowboys reporter made it clear, with these and many other comments yesterday, how he feels:
ALERT: Source tells @1053thefan the #Cowboys front office 'is not aware' of a coming @EzekielElliott suspension. Monitoring ...
It would also explain why @AdamSchefter report has more 'coulds,' 'almosts,' 'maybes,' 'kindas' & 'ifs' than my college dating life. https://t.co/q7AS740J83
As we all know, NFL media is desperate for things to report in the doldrums of early summer. While we're not saying that this Elliott story was totally manufactured, did something get blown way out of proportion in that hunger for content? Did a simple comment or speculation become "source" material?
The best thing to do right now, and really all we can do, is wait. Given all the smoke that's now been created, the league may be forced to conclude its investigation before the season starts in less than two months. They don't want to deal with the negative press of having still not resolved this.
What that resolution will mean for Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys is our concern at this moment, but let's be clear; we're giving Zeke benefit of the doubt right now. We're giving him the supportive assumption of innocence based on a current lack of evidence and the questionable credibility of his accuser.
If domestic violence is actually proven, and rumors turn into facts, then things change. But the NFL's poor handling of past issues, and the ever-desperate nature of NFL media during these summer months, make them the less believable parties at this time.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
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