Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is expecting star running back Ezekiel Elliott to miss games in the regular season due to his contract holdout.
Jerry Jones on Ezekiel Elliott: "I'm operating as though right now he's going to miss regular season games. My entire expectation for what we're putting together as a team right now would anticipate with him holding out ... that he's going to miss games. I just accept that."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 30, 2019
Elliott, 24, has two years and $12.8 million left on his contract. The Pro Bowl back is set to earn $3.8 million this season if he reports and $9 million next season.
However, Jones does expect that Elliott will return at some point.
Does the possibility of not having Ezekiel Elliott to start the season change Jerry Jones' expectations for this Cowboys season?— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 30, 2019
Jones: "No. He can't, and won't, miss them all. We need Zeke. We're a better team with Zeke." https://t.co/Ixo48Aq8zq
This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, especially after Jones previously said that the Cowboys season was a “marathon”, and that they’d need Elliott “when we get to the playoffs”.
Jones, a master salesman (and some might argue a master media manipulator), has played the game well thus far.
The big-talking owner previously threw a dagger at Elliott’s camp with the “Zeke who?” quip that angered Elliott and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux. That came after an impressive performance from backup running back Tony Pollard.
Elliott recently reminded said in a Maxim interview that even Emmitt Smith didn’t play his whole career with the Cowboys.
“Let me be real clear about something: I don’t negotiate with players,” Jones said. “I share with players my thoughts about our team and about why I have the position I have and to give them information as they’re assessing their decision. My discussion with players is something nobody, no agent, can have [because of] my perspective as the architect of the team. So I’m trying to get any player to understand why I’m making the decision I am. That’s not negotiating. That’s simply explaining the position. Negotiating is if I step over there and start saying, ‘I’ll give you this for that.’ I don’t do that with players.”
The Giants head to Jerry World in Arlington on September 8 to take on the Cowboys for the season’s first game.