Jerrah On Keeping Zeke Fresh

Don’t spin this fantasy about him showing up for the playoffs.

Jim Rome
August 29, 2019 - 9:17 am
Ezekiel Elliott and Jerry Jones

USA Today


I’ve said it before and I will say it again, there are few things less interesting in sports than talking about contract negotiations. It’s right up there with the designated hitter and astro turf as great topics. Contract situations are next to “should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame” in the Hall of Fame of awful topics.

And that’s the case for a number of reasons. First off, it’s people arguing about money. Secondly, we all know how it’s going to end. Especially in the NFL and in the case of an elite player. The player is going to end up being paid at or near the top of people at his position.

And in the meantime, everyone is going to question his loyalty and ask stupid questions like are they actually better off without him. That will be mixed in with reports of the player working out in some remote location and saying that he’s in the best shape of his life.

It’s so played. So tired. So boring. And you just want to fast forward to the part where they’re signing the contract and the player is showing up.

So when the Cowboys were going to have three different contract situations on their hands that felt like the most boring thing in the world. Times three. Except, incredibly. It hasn’t been. It hasn’t been thanks to one Jerral Wayne Jones.

Because Jerral has been making some seriously weird statements. Even for weird Jerral.  There was the one about severed hands that freaked out everyone. 

And then there was his zinger about Ezekiel Elliott that absolutely slayed everyone.

But now that we’re slightly over a week away from the start of the season, it’s time for Jerral to shelf that chuckle hut bull crap: It’s no longer open mic night at Flappers and it’s time to get down to business. With the season opener against the Giants coming up a week from Sunday, it’s time to roll up the sleeves, inject whatever it is he’s shooting into his face, and get a deal done.

Or not.

Because as Jerry told a Dallas radio station: "We've got a marathon here. We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs. We want Zeke when we're in the dog days of this season. ... A fresh Zeke, if we got to the end, would be great."

If I didn’t know any better, I would say that sounds like a Cowboys fan who is calling into a sports radio show, not the Cowboys CEO and general manager. Because that’s how whack that take is. 

You know what would be good?  Having Ezekiel Elliott as the running back on our team for a whole season.

But you know what would be even better? Having Ezekiel Elliott as the running back on our team for only a few games!

That sounds like some random drunk, just riffing on a stool at a bar, not a guy who owns and run arguably the most famous football team in the world.

Hey, you know what would be sick? If Ezekiel Elliott didn’t play all season and he was so fresh and so ready and he ran out onto the field right before the start of the Super Bowl and then we won the Super Bowl? That would be great! Best thing ever! No wait, actually it’s not. You know what’s better than the best thing ever. This…– what if he didn’t play until 2021? Then he would be so fresh! Because he’d be so fresh. Takes two years off! He’d be fresh as bleep. 

And what happens if the team misses the playoffs without him? What then? I guess he’ll be really fresh for OTAs.

Listen, I know that Jerry doesn’t want to be backed into a corner on this situation. He doesn’t want the pressure of the season opener to force his hand. He doesn’t want to the player have any leverage at all. 

And he’s looking at the schedule and seeing that the team opens up with New York, Washington, and Miami and he’s already got them going 3-0. He’s not worried about those three games at all. And I understand that.

Never mind, that is one hell of a slap in the face to those three teams and he couldn’t disrespecting them any more than he is by saying what he’s saying about Elliott. He’s telling those three teams, we’ve already assumed W’s against you with a backup running back; and we’re going with a backup not because of injury, but because we don’t’ want to pay our star. And more importantly because, well…why does anyone do anything?  Because they can. And we know we can beat you with Rb 2. And that we will beat you with rb 2. And while you may not see an actual quote where he says it, that’s exactly what he’s saying. And more importantly, that exactly what New York, Washington, and Miami are all hearing. 

Meanwhile, Zeke is working out in Cabo with Marshall Faulk, whatever the hell that means. And his teammates aren’t sweating it because it’s never cool to talk about another man’s money. And as right guard Zach Martin says, he’ll just block for whoever IS out there: "Listen, we're preparing for the season and you know we're going to play with what we got -- and what we got is a damn good back in Tony Pollard. Obviously you want him [Elliott] out here, but we are preparing to get ready for Week 1."

And no, that doesn’t feel like a swipe at Elliott. That’s one of the best offensive linemen in the game saying that the season is starting and I’m going to block my ass off for whoever’s in the backfield.

But what if Tony Pollard isn’t the guy they think he is? There have been plenty of running backs who looked great in preseason and never amounted to much in the regular season. What then? How much more leverage have you given Elliott? And does that leverage even matter?

Because here’s a better question… Does the regular season even matter? I mean, I thought the whole point of the NFL was that every game mattered. If that’s the case, why is Jerry just wiping out the first month or two of the year.

We don’t need our best running back for that. We’re good. Great Jerrah. Then .Why not just sit Dak during that time too? Because the only thing better than a fresh Elliott would be a fresh Elliott and a fresh Dak.

And here is the absolutely idiotic part of the whole thing – the Cowboys and Elliott probably both know what he’ll sign for. They know where the market is for elite running backs, he is an elite running back, so if they don’t know the exact number down to the penny, both sides probably know within a small margin of error what he’ll sign for.

But instead of doing the deal, they’ll do this bizarre theater were Elliott works out somewhere, Jerry makes a joke about the backup running back, Elliott and his camp pretend to be upset about it, and the rest of us have to sit through this nonsense, when they already know it’s going to get done and what the number will be.

Either get the deal done or don’t. Either way you need him or you don’t. But don’t spin this fantasy about him showing up for the playoffs like that’s your plan. Because if that’s your plan, it’s a terrible plan.