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Zeke Watch: Ezekiel Elliott’s Contract Negotiation Dance Continues

The Dallas Cowboys and their star Running Back Ezekiel Elliott are in the midst of a contract negotiation dance. Right now they are doing a tango and unfortunately there seems to be no end in sight. Someone will eventually have to take the lead, but for now both sides are willing to sit back and let the dance continue.

I enjoy a good dance as much as anyone, but it has to end at some point. The tango currently taking place between Zeke and the Dallas Cowboys will come to an end as well, but in the meantime I thought it would be a good idea to sift through what’s taken place so far to try to figure out what the future holds.

If anybody has been willing to take the lead so far it’s been the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve supposedly sent Ezekiel Elliott and his representatives a contract offer prior to the start of training camp. Apparently it wasn’t what Zeke’s camp was looking for, hence the current holdout and why he’s currently training in Cabo once again. That’s pretty much where things stand right now.

As far as any of us know, contract negotiations seem to be ongoing although there has been no public mention of it as of yet. That’s at least positive news. Not having an open line of communication between the two parties would indicate things were about to get ugly, but there hasn’t been any signs either side is ready to draw a line in the sand right now.

As far as leverage is concerned, it’s not going to get any better for Zeke than it is right now. You can throw the August 6 date out the window everybody’s been talking about. Zeke is not subject to potentially losing an accrued because the Cowboys have already exercised his fifth-year option. That would have only impacted him if he had four accrued seasons, not three. So the ball would seem to be in Zeke’s court.

Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

So we can pretty much expect Zeke’s contract negotiation dance and his holdout to continue for as long as it takes for him to receive his extension. Whether he plans to hold out in the regular season as well is still up in the air, but it would seem he has the Cowboys backs against the wall as of right now. At least that’s what he and his camp would like everyone to believe.

The Dallas Cowboys aren’t without ammunition in this dance though. They have options of their own that could make Zeke’s holdout quite a pricey one. I’ll let Mickey Spagnolo, a Staff Writer for Dallascowboys.com explain that though.

“There are mechanisms in the CBA to levy fines on players under contract refusing to report to training camp. Like Zeke. So he’s been out six days, and the Cowboys could fine him $40,000 a day. Also, missing six days means Cowboys can recoup 15 percent of the player’s signing bonus. For Zeke, that would be $613,000. Also, the fines can increase to another 1 percent a day, topping out at 25 percent. It’s a club option to enforce these. And the Aug. 6 deadline looms next Tuesday when an AWOL player can lose an accrued season of service for not reporting. Unless something radically changes in the negotiations on a new contract, doesn’t appear Zeke, now bunkered down in Cabo, will be here anytime soon.”

Although the Cowboys have ammunition of their own, I don’t expect them to use it on Ezekiel Elliott anytime soon. They want to keep things as cordial as possible, but if things were to turn ugly this could be the incentive Zeke needs to return to the team. And again, forget about the August 6 date. All that’s been clarified. But, the fines Dallas can levy on Elliott are very much factual.

Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t expect this dance to last forever. In fact, I’d be surprised if both parties don’t mutually agree upon some sort of contract extension before the Dallas Cowboys preseason dress rehearsal game in the Week 3 against the Houston Texans. After all, how often does Jerry Jones not pay someone he wants to keep around?

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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