Jerry Jones is too busy running a $5 billion franchise to get bogged down by Marshall Faulk talk.
This, essentially, is what the Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager expressed Friday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan. Jones was asked about — and responded to — outsiders who’ve butted into Ezekiel Elliott’s standoff with the Cowboys.
Such as the Hall of Fame running back.
“I really have not kept up. I like Marshall. He’s been good for the NFL. But I got too much to do to be thinking about anything these guys are commenting about (Zeke’s) contract,” Jones said, per The Athletic.
Faulk, who’s training Elliott in Cabo, shares an agent with the two-time Pro Bowler, and himself wants to soon break into the player-rep business, has been an outspoken critic of how Jones approached negotiations with a superstar aiming to become the richest ever at his position.
“If the Cowboys believe their engine is number 21 … I’ve heard them say that Zeke is the best running back in the league, then you need to pay him like that,” Faulk recently said, via the Dallas Morning News. “Jerry is one of, if not the best owner in our league. And we know Jerry does everything top notch.”
That’s a mere smattering of Faulk’s thinking, which isn’t limited to Elliott. The former St. Louis Rams great and NFL Network analyst used a non-sequitur — Dallas drafting and, earlier this month, extending linebacker Jaylon Smith — to further his rhetoric.
“If you think about this, and I’m not counting another man’s money, but if you think about what Jaylon (Smith) did and what he got, compared to what Zeke has done and what he is asking for, it’s not even close. It’s not even close,” Faulk said. “They drafted a linebacker in the first-round last year. If they thought so much of Jaylon … I mean you dropped another linebacker in the first round?”
Elliott is on Day 36 of his holdout and appears poised to miss regular season games. Jones announced Thursday following the team’s preseason finale that he doesn’t expect Elliott on the field Sept. 8 against the New York Giants.
“He can’t, and won’t, miss them all,” he said.
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Jerry Enters Posture Mode
Jones is leveraging Elliott against the potential penalties for his absence. Dallas can enforce a $40,000 fine for each day the Pro Bowl running back has been absent. Additionally, the team has the authority to chase repayment of up to 25 percent of his $4.087 million signing bonus proration, as part of his rookie deal.
“I’m operating as though right now he’s going to miss regular season games,” Jones said following Dallas’ preseason finale, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “My entire expectation for what we’re putting together as a team right now would anticipate with him holding out … that he’s going to miss games. I just accept that.”
The No. 4 overall pick in 2016, Elliott is entering the penultimate year of his four-year, $24.956 million pact, which included $24.5 million guaranteed and a $16.35 million signing bonus.
For what it’s worth, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer recently predicted the sides will reach an agreement on an extension that makes Elliott the league’s highest-paid back, eclipsing the $57.5 million in total money Los Angeles superstar Todd Gurley received on his four-year contract.
Another Country Heard From
Faulk isn’t the only NFL legend to throw his support firmly in Elliott’s corner. On Thursday, prior to the exhibition-closer, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin revealed that he personally urged Dallas’ head honcho and the team’s vice president, Stephen Jones, to end Elliott’s holdout.
“This is not the time to be milling around,” Irvin said on the television broadcast, via CBS11’s Bill Jones. “We need Zeke here right now!”
The message seemed to have fallen on deaf ears: “We want him sooner rather than later, but we’ll take him later,” Jerry Jones said on the broadcast.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL