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Zeke Watch: Ezekiel Elliott’s Contract Negotiation Dance Continues

Brian Martin

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Zeke Watch: What we Know and What We Should Expect to Hear
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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?


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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Game Notes

Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.

However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.

Taco Charlton

That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.


With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.

One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.

Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.

Tell me what you think about "Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?

Jess Haynie

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Taryn Christion

Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?

Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.

Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.

Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.

Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.


Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.

An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.

Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.

No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.

But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.


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Game Notes

HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game

Matthew Lenix

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HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game 1

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.

The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.

Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.

The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.

Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.


Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.

Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.

Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.


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