Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys still at impasse with Elliott, Prescott, Cooper. Will Zeke miss games?

Aug. 6 marked Day 12 of the training camp holdout of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott as well as a lack of movement on contract talks with quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper.

What does it all mean and where do things stand?

Starting with Elliott, the much-talked about Aug. 6 date for an accrued season doesn’t mean much. As long as he reports before the 10th game this year and reports 30 days before next season he wouldn’t lose an accrued season. If he doesn’t report 30 before the start of next season he would lose an accrued season and thus not be a free agent.

It’s all moot because Elliott has no interest in becoming a free agent. He wants a contract extension and has no plans of showing up without one. That means he could miss games.

The Cowboys are hopeful that a deal gets done, though.

They remain hopeful and committed to getting deals done with all three players and have made generous offers with a little wiggle room to go higher to all three, according to sources.

The Cowboys are ready to tango and solve some of these contract issues. They are held up because the opposing negotiating dance partner for all three players have not come back to the negotiating table.

Dallas has offered all three players contracts that would put them in the top five at their respective positions, according to sources. That puts Prescott in the $30 million range and Cooper at about $17 million annually.

Think about that.

Now understand that Elliott’s goal is to be the highest paid running back, considering he is the two-time rushing champ and has had more touches than any non-quarterback since 2016.

Yet, the Cowboys offer is more in line with Le’veon Bell of the Jets rather than the current highest-paid RB in the NFL, Todd Gurley of the Rams, according to a source. Gurley averages $14.4 million per season. Bell’s deal averages $13.1 million.

Elliott is asking for more than $15 million annually.

What is key here is that the Cowboys had every intention of matching or surpassing Gurley until Bell, who sat out all of last season in a contract dispute with the Steelers, came in under him as a free agent signee with the Jets.

Instead of re-setting the market, Bell lowered the market for running backs.

Now, you know why Elliott is in Cabo San Lucas holding out of camp.

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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.