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In Jerry Jones’ mind — or at least what was coming out of his mouth on Wednesday — the most important thing for the Dallas Cowboys isn’t having holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott on the field for Week 1. There’s a bigger goal in mind.
"We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We want Zeke when we're in the dog days of this season."
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But Jones’ latest comments make logical sense.
Cowboys have a soft early schedule
The Cowboys start the season with three of the teams projected to be the worst in the NFL: Giants, Redskins, Dolphins.
Elliott has had a huge workload since entering the NFL, and presumably that’s weighing on the Cowboys as they figure out how much to pay Elliott and how to structure the contract. Dallas has playoff hopes — Cowboys haters will certainly notice that Jones said “when” the Cowboys make the playoffs, not “if” — and they want to peak late in the season.
From a football standpoint, would it be the worst thing for the Cowboys to stall a bit, hope to beat those three teams without Elliott and then bring him back fully rested for the rest of the season? Probably not.
"A fresh Zeke at the end of the year would be great,” Jones said, via Gavin Dawson of 105.3 The Fan.
Jerry Jones has nothing to report on negotiations
Maybe Jones’ focus on the latter part of the season is a byproduct of current negotiations. He said there has been no recent change in the standoff.
"I don't have anything to report there,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan. “No we don't have anything to report on our contract negotiations."
So we all wait. Elliott will presumably play at some point, likely with a new contract. Will it happen by the regular season opener? Jones doesn’t sound too concerned if it doesn’t happen by then.
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