Dallas Cowboys Running Back Emmitt Smith held out the first two games of the 1993 season before getting a new deal. Will Ezekiel Elliott follow suit?
26 years ago, Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith held out to start the 1993 season. And after going 0-2, the Cowboys gave the future Hall of Fame running back a new deal. I believe the Cowboys’ brass is preparing to follow a similar path with running back Ezekiel Elliott.
There is an old saying attributed to French journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr that says: The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the NFL, it seems like every year there’s a high-profile player that holds out or threatens it for a new contract.
Personally, I almost always root for NFL players in these situations because it is such a dangerous sport, and especially when you see the enormous guaranteed contracts NBA players are commanding. However, more than the leadership in any other professional sport, the NFL owners are usually in a position of strength when it comes to negotiating leverage.
For Elliott, per spotrac.com, he is entering the fourth year of his $24.9 million rookie contract that included a $16.3 million signing bonus. As with all first-round draftees, the team retains the option for a fifth year that would pay Elliott $9.09 million
By contrast, Smith was also in his fourth season but his rookie contract was four years at $2.8 million. The deal he eventually landed from his holdout was a second four-year deal worth $13.6 million making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
In order to see how the Cowboys organization is approaching the Elliott holdout, I think it would be wise to study how they handled Smith. While it was more than two decades ago, let’s look at a player example and a team example to draw some parallels between the two.