Dallas (CBS DFW)- Training camp for the Dallas Cowboys kicks off on July 26th in Oxnard, CA and according to a new report, the team could be without one of its key pieces when practices get underway. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that running back Ezekiel Elliott has “privately said” that he’s planning on holding out of camp if he doesn’t get a new deal.
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson also weighed in with a report, that says while Elliott hasn’t definitely decided that he will skip camp, he “definitely wants an extension in the works.” According to Robinson, if progress isn’t made towards a deal, the situation “could go sideways fast.”
The 23-year-old Elliott is entering his fourth season in the league and, because he is a former first round pick, the Cowboys have a team option available to them for next year as well. With the team focusing on locking down starters that could more immediately become free agents (i.e. DeMarcus Lawrence and Dak Prescott), talk of a new deal for Elliott hasn’t been flourishing.
The biggest problem for Elliott is the position that he plays. Running backs in the NFL today are seen as more easily replaceable than other positions. Le’Veon Bell, the top running back in free agency this year, signed a 4-year $52 million deal with the New York Jets. The largest running back contract currently belongs to Todd Gurley who signed a 4-year $57 million agreement with the Los Angeles Rams.
Elliott is currently slated for a base salary of $3.8 million this season, with next year’s team option worth a little over $9 million. He has led the league in rushing yards and carries in two of his three NFL seasons, which makes the desire for a new contract understandable. But, with the Cowboys having several other key players set to hit free agency after this season, it will be interesting to see how they manage their cap.