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Is Ezekiel Elliott headed for a holdout with the Dallas Cowboys? The answer is tricky

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones says now is the time to extend QB Dak Prescott

Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones says it makes sense to extend quarterback Dak Prescott now because "he deserves it," while speaking to media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.
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Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones says it makes sense to extend quarterback Dak Prescott now because "he deserves it," while speaking to media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones had some good news and possibly some bad news when it comes to a contract extension for running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The question is how is Elliott, who is considering a holdout if he doesn’t get a new deal this off-season, going to respond?

Jones said the Cowboys will give the two-time NFL rushing champ a significant contract at some point in the future.

But it did not seem to come with the urgency of this off-season.

Elliott would like a contract extension before his fourth season, similar to Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams, who signed a four-year extension in July 2018 that included $57.5 million in new money and $45 million in guaranteed money, according to sources.

Elliott is due to earn $3.8 million this year and the Cowboys can pick up the fifth-year option in his contract, keeping him in their control through 2020.

The money is coming, sure. But when?

“Well, I mean we’ve got it budgeted that we’re going to pay Zeke a significant contract at some point,” Jones said. “He’s right there at the top with the best of the business, if not the best. We saw what Gurley got paid, and that’s probably where it starts, and we’ll go from there.”

The question is whether Elliott will be comforted by this promise of being taken care of at some point? Or will he feel left out in an off-season when the Cowboys are more focused on contract extensions for defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper?

There is a good chance Elliott could hold out if he doesn’t get a new deal this off-season, according to sources.

He is in the prime of his career and wants to maximize his earning potential now rather than in the future when the Cowboys could potentially use the toll of his heavy usage against him.

He is certainly deserving of a new deal now, just as Jones believes Prescott is.

Elliott has more than surpassed his rookie contract as well and he is undoubtedly the foundation of any success the team has had on offense since being picked fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Waiting another year could result in hurt feelings and a holdout.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.
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