"We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs."
Dallas Cowboys All Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott has said that he hopes to play his entire career with the Cowboys, and the team certainly wants him in the backfield when the season gets underway - but it's becoming more likely that he will miss some action as his holdout rages on.
On Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 1053 The Fan that there is nothing new on Elliott's contract negotiations. Furthermore, Jones explained that there is no deadline for when to expect a deal, and the team is preparing as if he won't be there when they take the field in Week 1 against the New York Giants.
“We have to be prepared to play without any given player. ...We may very well play without a player that’s not coming in on his contract. We’ll play and we’ll play well,” Jones said (H/T Jon Machota).
According to the Dallas News' Michael Gehlken, Jones also mentioned how it's most important that Elliott is around for the playoff push, which is a significant tidbit for anybody planning on drafting Zeke in their fantasy football leagues.
"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 the season."
The Cowboys have reportedly offered to make Zeke the second-highest paid running back in the NFL, which would mean a contract less than Todd Gurley's $57.5M deal but more than Le'Veon Bell's $52.5M. However, the specifics of the deal, most notably the amount of guaranteed money, remains unknown.
Dallas will host the division rival Giants to kickoff the season on September 8, followed by a road game against another NFC East rival, the Washington Redskins, in Week 2.