New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell took to Twitter to express his support for Ezekiel Elliott, who is following in holdout footsteps.
Le’Veon Bell knows a thing or two about star running backs holding out. After all, last season he was indeed a star running back holding out. That was before he signed a long-term deal with the New York Jets.
With contract talks at a standstill, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has reportedly declared he will not join the team until he has received a new contract. The two-time rushing champion is entering the final season of a four-year deal he received upon his NFL entry.
The situation is remarkably similar to what Bell went through with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. Bell’s protest stemmed from the Steelers placing a one-year franchise tag on him for the second consecutive season. Instead, seeking a long-term deal, Bell refused to report to the team and wound up sitting out the entire 2018-19 season. He would ink a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets in March.
Thus, it was no surprise to see Bell side with Elliott in a Tuesday afternoon post.
they gotta pay up, period ?? https://t.co/M08n7VQCsc
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 6, 2019
Elliott has established himself as a vital part of the Dallas offense. He has tallied 4,048 rushing yards in three seasons, as well as a pair of All-Pro nominations. The Cowboys own a 22-6 record when Elliott has at least 20 carries (6-6 otherwise) and have won two NFC East titles during his brief tenure.
However, character concerns and the perceived value of other positions have made the Cowboys reluctant to extend such a deal to Elliott. Owner Jerry Jones touched on this point at the start of Dallas’ training camp proceedings.
“The point there is, you don’t have to have a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl (Emmitt Smith) was the first one to do it,” Jones said, per Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports. “That’s one of the dilemmas at running back is that the league knows that you can win Super Bowls and not have the Emmitt Smith back there or not have Zeke back there.”
Adding to the dilemma is the fact the Cowboys are also searching for a way to keep Elliott and fellow offensive landmarks and impending 2020 free agents Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported that the team has made “generous” offers to the trio, but are prepared to have them each play out their final years.
The Jets will take on Dallas in a Week 5 showdown in October.