Dez Bryant is fed up with the narrative steered against Ezekiel Elliott.

With the regular season opener rapidly approaching, the two-time NFL rushing champ remains in Cabo as contract talks between him and the Dallas Cowboys roll on. Behind the curtain, negotiations have been forward-moving and both sides remain optimistic a deal will get done in time for Elliott to participate against the New York Giants on Sept. 8, but it's what has been occurring in front of the curtain that's dominated headlines. 

At every turn, owner Jerry Jones has found a way to use his pristine salesmanship as a means of wrestling away any leverage he can from Elliott. From a well-placed "Zeke who?" joke to comments about the Cowboys being fine not having Elliott to start the season -- as long as he's around for the back end of it -- Jones would have everyone believe two things:

  1. The Cowboys are salary-cap poor, and...
  2. Elliott is being selfish, and should be media- and fan-flogged accordingly, until he accepts less money.

Few understand the dance of an NFL negotiation like Bryant, though, having gone through the same with the Cowboys in 2015 -- with the All-Pro wideout set to hold out himself in lieu of a new contract. The deal got done with Bryant in mid-July of that year, but he was cut three years later in an unexpected move fueled by contention between him and then-offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Bryant played with Elliott for two seasons and feels any attempt to devalue the two-time All-Pro's worth to the Cowboys is, well, outlandish.

For his part, Bryant wants Elliott to cash out.

Anyone who had a retort for Bryant regarding what Elliott's worth is essentially died by the sword of "Mr. 73."

And for those who aren't taking into account the brutalization of Elliott -- by way of a workload that was in another stratosphere compared to other star halfbacks in the league -- Bryant is keen to remind everyone of the toll professional football takes on an athlete's body, especially at the running back position.

Bryant didn't stop there, but his message was delivered with a rubber stamp and a bloody signature, and it was fueled by Jones' latest conversation with 105.3 the Fan. The Hall of Fame owner isn't pulling in punches when the microphone is on.

"Zeke is an outstanding player, and arguably right there with our best players," Jones said. "But no one gives up in any way, especially with the talented group that we have. No one without one player believes that's terminal, as far as us having a great year. As a matter of fact, it's just the opposite. Don't tell Jason Witten that if somebody gets hurt or somebody gets suspended that our chances of winning a Super Bowl have gone." 

Seemingly running out of fuel for the infinite round of Elliott questions he's fielding, Jones reached back into a familiar bag in between audible chews of his breakfast. 

"That's just not the case," he said. "...Most of these teams win Super Bowls without rushing champions." 

Jones then pulled out a hammer to drive the remainder of the nail into his crown molding. 

"Secondly, we've had [Elliot] going on three or four years and we haven't won it yet," he said between chews and swallows. "So we got to figure out that obviously he's not the ingredient that will win it. You've got to think like that. You've got to play like that. 

"It's availability. One player can make a difference, but not THE difference."

While Bryant understands what Jones and the Cowboys are doing with their strategic media sound bytes, he also understands and agrees with what Elliott has decided to do in order to secure his financial future. Currently signed through the 2020 season, there was/is no guarantee the team would extend him following the conclusion of 2019. There are handshake agreements, yes, but those can change in an instant. If the usually durable Elliott was to get injured this coming season, for example, it changes the tone of the conversation in 2020.

Elliott isn't so apt to risk his future to a wink and a handshake, and considering how he'll be used going forward along with the position he plays, the current holdout is his way of simply asking the Cowboys to prove they're as committed to him as they are to quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Now -- in one way or another, and despite Jones' media posturing -- they'll end up doing just that.

And if there's one thing Elliott has learned from how the Cowboys handled Bryant, it's to use your value in your favor while you can, because the business of football could not care less about loyalty.