FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is confident a deal with running back Ezekiel Elliott will get done before the team plays the New York Giants in the Sept. 8 regular-season opener.
"Things happen real quick," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "Sometimes within hours."
As for a deal happening soon, Jones said, "I don't think we're close because there's not a lot of activity."
For nearly three weeks, the Cowboys have had an offer on the table that would make Elliott the second-highest-paid running back ahead of the $13.125 million average of Le'Veon Bell with the New York Jets and the $14.375 million average of Todd Gurley II with the Los Angeles Rams. The structure and guaranteed money in the Elliott offer is not known.
Earlier in training camp, Jones said the Cowboys would not be market setters for any of their contracts for Elliott, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, but he offered up a definition of what that term means to the organization.
"I think market-setting to me is when, it would be like a Thomas deal in New Orleans," Jones said of the contract signed by Saints receiver Mike Thomas. "The highest-paid receiver is ($18 million) and all of a sudden it's almost ($20 million). To me you're changing the market when you do something like that. We just can't go to a place like that."
Elliott's holdout is at 28 days and counting, and he is facing fines of $1.12 million and the possibility of having to repay $1.02 million of signing bonus money, although the penalties are at the team's discretion.