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Dear Jerry Jones, don’t stop disrespecting Ezekiel Elliott ... for Giants’ sake


Quick question on behalf of the Giants: Is there a live video feed of this Dallas Cowboys drama somewhere that Big Blue can kick their shoes off and watch with a bowl of popcorn?

Thank you, Jerry Jones, honestly, on behalf of Pat Shurmur and your NFC East rivals.

But please, don’t stop now. Don’t stop disrespecting your star running back Ezekiel Elliott with potshots and cheap quips like “Zeke who?” as he holds out for a new contract.

Keep it up. Keep daring Elliott to sit out into the regular season. Keep jeopardizing Elliott’s availability for the Week 1 opener against the Giants, Sept. 8 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

That’s exactly how it looked on Monday, especially, when Elliott’s agent Rocky Arceneaux landed an upper-cut on Jones by telling ESPN: “I didn’t think it was funny and neither did Zeke — we actually thought it was disrespectful.”

It’s not like Elliott had 381 touches for 2,001 yards from scrimmage as the focal point of your 10-6 division champion 2018 team that won your first playoff game since 2014.

It’s not like your first-year offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, is 31 years old. I’m sure that’s exactly what Moore needs to get this team off and running: having to take on the Giants in his first-ever NFL game as an O.C. without his offense’s biggest weapon.

The Cowboys are a much different team without Ezekiel Elliott, c, just ask any of the Giants. (Ron Jenkins/AP)

Not to mention you, Jerry, the Cowboys’ all-powerful owner, also have quarterback Dak Prescott and top receiver Amari Cooper deserving and wanting new contracts.

Boy, no pressure, huh? Three key players who rightly wouldn’t be happy if they weren’t paid fairly soon and less than three weeks before the Cowboys’ games start to matter.

Saquon Barkley pointed it out to me last week, though, when he was lobbying for Elliott to be paid as “one of the best players in the league:” the Cowboys are a different team when Elliott isn’t on the field.

“You see the difference between the team when he was there and when he wasn’t there,” Barkley said. “Even though he wasn’t there because he was suspended (in 2017), you could see the difference in the team. Even when we played him this (past) year, you could see the difference between when we played them in the first game and the last game of the season. Even though we were a much better team in the second half of the season, you could see the difference.”

The Cowboys, interestingly, are 2-0 against the Giants without Elliott and 2-2 with him over his three NFL seasons. Still, even veteran safety Michael Thomas joked with me that his message for Elliott and the Cowboys would be to wait and resolve that contract standoff in Week 2.

The Giants, you’ll recall, struggled badly to stop the run in the second half of last season after trading defensive tackle Damon Harrison to Detroit. They drafted D-lineman Dexter Lawrence in the first round out of Clemson, but it remains to be seen if Dalvin Tomlinson or Lawrence will be able to plug the middle consistently and effectively. Plus the Giants are weak and not deep at linebacker. And facing fourth-round rookie Tony Pollard out of Memphis in Week 1 would be an absolute blessing compared to dealing with all 228 pounds of Elliott down after down.

Not to completely write off the 6-foot, 215-pound Pollard, but he wasn’t even the featured running back on his college team. Darrell Henderson, the Rams’ third-round pick, led the Tigers’ rushing attack.

Pollard was a return specialist who also chipped in as a backup in the run and pass game. But he had only 78 carries in his final season and 139 total for his college career. Elliott carried 304 times last season and caught 77 passes on top of it.

Jerry Jones, l, probably won't risk starting the season without Zeke, but if he does, Big Blue won't have any complaints.
Jerry Jones, l, probably won't risk starting the season without Zeke, but if he does, Big Blue won't have any complaints. (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

The Cowboys no doubt are emboldened by center Travis Frederick’s health to anchor the most expensive and possibly best offensive line in football. Prescott and Cooper had great chemistry after last fall’s midseason trade of a first-round pick to the Raiders.

And Prescott absolutely lit the Giants on fire in Week 17 last season, completing 27-of-44 passes for 387 yards, four touchdowns, a game-winning two-point conversion, and no interceptions.

However, I am calling Jones’ bluff. I don’t think he’s willing to risk his franchise’s greatest Super Bowl window since the mid-1990s by ruining relationships with three of his best players, especially Elliott.

I think he’s going to pay all three soon, and he’s making unwise jokes on camera to play hardball and save face.

The Giants will enjoy this drama in the meantime, though. They will prepare to face Elliott in Week 1, but hey, if he happens to still be in Mexico when kickoff arrives at 4:25 p.m. on Sept. 8, you won’t hear any complaints in the visitors’ locker room that evening.

You can believe that.