Since running back Ezekiel Elliott is not in Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can not try to persuade Elliott to take whatever the team is willing to make. So Jones needs to use a different strategy.
His fallback? Make Elliott look bad for holding out.
Jones has already mentioned the "honor your contract" concept in reference to Elliott. During a Friday appearance on 105.3 the Dallas on Friday fan, Jones cranked that up with a notch.
"If we do not have a contract, what's next? be talking about another contract? "Jones said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. " If we're not gonna honor contracts?"
That's a bit disingenous, for several reasons. First and foremost, teams fail to honor contracts all the time. This weekend, many people say they do not have their contracts.
Second, if the cowboys sign he's not going to launch a new holdout during the season. So the Cowboys definitely will not be back in this position in three months. Or in 2021. Or, most likely, in 2022.
Third, the "honor your contract" mantra is a red herring. Elliott has two contracts – his deal with the team and his union's deal with the league.
If Jones does not like that, he currently has a chance to change it. Jones has taken a central role in the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
In 2011, the league bumped up the daily training -camp holdout fines dramatically.
The broader problem is that fans and media will latch on to the "honor your contract" mantra and presumption that Elliott is doing something wrong by exercising his right to stay away. He's not.
The fact that it does not appear to be the same is true.