Ezekiel Elliott contract: Cowboys' VP Stephen Jones 'very optimistic' as he provides a hint on the current timetable

The Dallas Cowboys don't appear to be worried Ezekiel Elliott's holdout will last much longer. With the Cowboys season opener against the New York Giants 15 days away, the clock is ticking for Dallas to get Elliott back into "The Star" and have him suited up for Week 1. 

Cowboys COO and Executive Vice President Stephen Jones is "very optimistic" the team will get a new contract done with Elliott, who is seeking to be one of the highest-paid running backs in football. 

"We feel confident things will get done," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas Friday. "Things happen real quick, sometimes within hours."

Jones also admitted both sides aren't close because "there's not a lot of activity," giving some bad news regarding the Elliott contract situation. This comes on the heels of ESPN NFL writer Ed Werder's report that Dallas offered Elliott a contract that would make him the second-highest paid running back in the NFL

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley is the highest-paid running back in the NFL, making an average annual value of $14.375 million a year. New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell currently sits at No. 2, making $13.125 million on average. Elliott would surpass Bell's salary from the reported Cowboys offer. 

Elliott returned to Cabo this past week, where he has been training during his holdout. The added twist in the ongoing saga is NFL Hall of Fame running back and former league MVP Marshall Faulk is training him, defending Zeke's contract demands while questioning the contract negotiations for Dak Prescott

"This kid has basically carried this team the past three years," Faulk said of Elliott. "I'll be honest with you: If I'm Zeke, and I was sitting down, and I saw that they signed Jaylon Smith, I'm pissed. I'm just saying, I'm pissed."

Elliott has led the NFL in rushing in two of his three NFL seasons, while also leading the NFL in yards per game in all of his seasons. Elliott has 868 carries for 4,048 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. The Cowboys are 28-12 in the 40 games Elliott has played, winning two NFC East titles.

Elliott is on the books for the final year of his rookie deal, earning $7.94 million this year. He has a fifth-year option on his rookie deal for 2020, worth $9.099 million. 

Under Elliott's rookie deal, his average annual value has him has the 10th highest-paid running back in football. Clearly, he's worth more than that. 

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