Cowboys No Contract Offer to Ezekiel Elliott: Dallas Reveals ‘Insult’ & ‘Pride’ Issues

Stephen Jones provided some details about the Dallas Cowboys’ farewell to Ezekiel Elliott, comparing his departure to stars of North Texas past like Emmitt Smith and DeMarcus Ware.

The NFL Owners Meeting is about looking forward into the future but Dallas Cowboys management has been attacked by questions about the very recent past.

Though the Cowboys have had a busy offseason, the defining move has been bidding farewell to Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL’s second-leading rusher since his NFL entry in 2015. Elliott has reportedly had a series of suitors … several of whom would give him an immediate chance at revenge against the Cowboys … but remains unsigned as the league calendar drifts toward draft month.

Cowboys COO Stephen Jones offered some details into the departure on Tuesday, comparing his move to those of fellow Dallas playmakers Emmitt Smith and DeMarcus Ware, those latter two ending their careers in unfamiliar uniforms despite sizable success with the Cowboys.

“When you’ve got players and we’ve had them over the years, whether it’s Emmitt Smith, whether it’s a DeMarcus Ware … these type of players you’ve got such respect for everything that they’ve done for your organization,” Jones told a small group of reporters, including’s Mike Fisher, at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “The last thing we want to do is do anything that would be insulting to a player to a great player, like Zeke, who was one of the best players to ever put on a Cowboys uniform.

So … Talent. Money. Pride.

And no “insult.”

Elliott’s release back on Mar. 15 was more or less assured thanks to a career-worst season and financial particulars, as Dallas saved $10.9 million on the 2023-24 salary cap upon his departure. The Cowboys instead opted for a $10 million franchise tag for breakout rusher Tony Pollard while also signing two-time Super Bowl champion Ronald Jones.
Yet, Dallas management appears reluctant to permanently clean out Elliott’s locker, as both Stephen and his father, Cowboys owner Jerry, both hinted that they’d be open to a maybe-reunion.

The elder Jones, for example, has still not taken an Elliott deal “off the table.”

“(He was a) great competitor and (we’re) wishing nothing but the best if it turns out he didn’t return,” Stephen said. “But we never rule anything out around here. But yeah, there are sensitivities when you get into making offers.”

We’ve reported that the Jones’ “openness” to a return is mostly about “politeness.”

“Sensitivities.’ And thus, as Zeke continues to seek employment elsewhere, “The Long Goodbye.”

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