Reports Ezekiel Elliott's representatives have told the Dallas Cowboys he will not play this season without a new contract have been described as "news to us" by chief operating officer Stephen Jones.
ESPN reported Elliott would continue his holdout into the new season if the Cowboys did not sign him to fresh terms by the start of the campaign.
However, Jones, speaking on 105.3 The Fan, said that ultimatum was "news to us and it certainly doesn't change anything". He characterised the Cowboys' offer to Elliott as "very generous".
"I think you can easily get out of [training camp location] Oxnard [without getting deals done]. Be back in Dallas before anything gets done," Jones said, referring not only to Elliott but also quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who are also negotiating new contracts.
"As a matter of fact, I don't see any momentum that would lead me to believe we're going to get anything done while we're out here [in California]."
Asked if he thought Elliott actually would miss regular-season games, Jones replied: "I don't know. You'd have to ask Zeke and his representation. Our goal is to get deals done.
"Our problem is we have a distribution dilemma. It's our job to manage the [salary] cap, and we're trying to divide the pie. The money's going out the door, it just depends on who gets what."
Elliott is set to receive a base salary of $3.9million for 2019, and the team last month picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie contract that will pay him $9.1m for 2020.
He earned his second rushing title in three years with 1,434 yards on a league-high 304 carries with six touchdowns last season, while adding 77 receptions for 567 yards and three touchdowns.
Elliott has been working out to stay in shape in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, according to multiple reports.
As the holdout is during training camp, Elliott is subject to a fine of $40,000 per day missed. If he does not report before Saturday's preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers, he could be fined the equivalent of a regular-season game cheque, roughly $226,000. The Cowboys also could seek to recover a prorated portion of his signing bonus.
In Elliott's absence, Dallas signed veteran back Alfred Morris, 30, who played for the Cowboys in 2016 and 2017. Morris rushed for 547 yards and a touchdown in 2017, a season in which Elliott missed six games because of an NFL-mandated suspension.
The Cowboys open their regular season on September 8 at home against the New York Giants.
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