With the Cowboys currently intending to extend quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper, whose contracts expire after the season, the Cowboys do not even think about negotiating a new contract with returning Ezekiel Elliott ,
It's pretty obvious that the Cowboys will not make Elliott a priority for a repeat in 2019, and it's equally obvious that Elliott will not ask for his second contract this year. The question is whether the cowboys will extend Elliott before the 2020 season, which will be the last of his rookie contracts.
Dan Graziano of ESPN recently speculated that the Cowboys might wait until Elliott's rookie contract expires and decided to sign him a new contract with the application of the franchise tag that looms or him for a sixth (and maybe last) season under the day stops. However, these options are in conflict with comments previously made by Stephen Jones, COO of Cowboys.
"Sure, we'll have a few years with Zeke to get it done," Jones said in the days following the #PPTPM podcast for 2019. "We definitely want to finish it. He is the straw that stirs up our drink. He is an important part of what we are about. These things take time to get done. They do not happen overnight. Certainly it is a priority when it comes to signing it eventually. It was not really a timetable set up.
While Zeke may now be the straw that stirs the drink, the cowboys may be stirring the drink with a new straw as the offensive focus shifts from hitting the ball with Zeke on his way to a stronger passing game, powered by Amari's 2,000-yard aspirations. If after a season 2019, in which theoretically more Dak and less Zeke could be seen, Zeke may receive a lower priority.
Then there is the possibility that the cowboys will receive a coaching change after the 2019 season, and a A new coach might think differently about a Zeke-centered offense.
Maybe Zeke will eventually receive treatment from DeMarco Murray. Murray set the 2014 record for the franchise's only season. His reward? A trip to the open market and a ticket for the outward journey from the city.
It is currently difficult to imagine the cowboys coming to the same conclusion about Elliott, especially as the 2016 franchise made the fourth choice. Still, high quality running backs are easier to find and much cheaper than high quality quarterbacks. If there are many star players on the payroll who have been or will be paid, there is a chance someone might hold the bag in their hand. Until Elliott gets a second contract, there is a chance he will be.
Elliott seems to be happy with the reality of not getting a new contract in the near future. Given the possibility that the team could never give him one, Elliott should reconsider his position as to whether it's time to make a line in the sand and demand more.