When discussing Ezekiel Elliott‘s next contract in February, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the deal the Rams struck with Todd Gurley is “probably where it starts” for negotiations with Elliott.
Jones seems to feel a bit differently now. Gurley’s average annual salary is $14.375 million, but Le’Veon Bell signed a deal with the Jets that calls for average salaries of $13.125 million since those comments. Bell also got $10 million less in guaranteed money than Gurley, which is how his name came up in a question for Jones during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday.
Jones was asked if he regrets intimating that the team would be using Gurley’s contract as a jumping off point in Elliott talks and his answer touched on the Bell deal reshaping the playing field for running back contracts.
“No, I still think that’s within the realm. At the same time, I think the market re-set with Le’Veon,” Jones said. “I think you see what happens with Gurley and you get a great player like Le’Veon, who’s every bit as well thought of as Gurley and he had unfettered free agency. He had 32 teams with no draft picks attached, and the market was $13.5 million . . . less than Gurley’s. At the end of the day, business changes, and we pay attention to that.”
Jones was asked if the difference between the two deals was so great, even at the actual figures, that the team would risk going into next season without Elliott. Jones said the team’s made a “very generous” offer to the running back, although it’s clear Elliott doesn’t agree that it is as generous as it should be and he likely wouldn’t agree with being comped to Bell rather than Gurley either.