Shark Bites

Yahoo's Charles Robinson reports that "Dallas is frustrated with the last exchange" in contract talks with RB Ezekiel Elliott's camp, referring to Sunday negotiations. Robinson added: "After Saturday's momentum, Cowboys expected more compromise to get a deal done today. Didn't happen, so it's on to Monday and a hopeful reset." Robinson had reported Saturday that the 2 sides were "close to completing" an extension. We're still drafting Elliott in the middle of Round 1, because he sits top 5 in our projections even if you factor in a couple of missed games. But you'll need to decide your comfort level with the risk vs. reward if this remains unresolved when you draft.

ESPN's Adam Schefter hears that "talks between the Cowboys and RB Ezekiel Elliott are intensifying, with both sides aiming to wrap up a new deal this weekend." This standoff was always likely to run up close to Week 1. But with the opener now just 8 days away, both sides are motivated to get something done. We're still drafting Elliott 4th overall in all fantasy drafts, behind only Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expects WR Amari Cooper (foot) to return to practice on Monday. He's been sidelined since the 1st week of August. “I don’t see it impacting us at all,” Jones said of Cooper's injury. “I’m just glad he’s got his health in the place that it is relative to his foot ... I think he’s well ahead of when he stepped on the field with us last year as to what we’re trying to do offensively." Cooper's ADP has dropped into the late 3rd round. He's a fine pick at that price.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Thursday night's preseason finale that he's prepared for RB Ezekiel Elliott's holdout to last into the regular season. "I'm operating as though right now, he's going to miss regular season games," Jones said. "My entire expectation for what we're putting together as a team right now would anticipate with him holding out and not having him in training camp, that he's going to miss games. We just accept that." The Dallas Morning News' Calvin Watkins reports that the Cowboys have talked with Zeke's agent in the last few days but that "nothing of substance" occurred. Jones' comments could be a final negotiation ploy to get a deal done. But we're now just 9 days away from the season opener. We just knocked 2 games off of Elliott's projections and gave RB Tony Pollard another healthy boost up the RB rankings.

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper remains "on schedule" for Week 1, HC Jason Garrett said Monday. Cooper has been sidelined for most of August with some type of left foot or heel injury and won't practice this week. Cooper told NFL Network's Jane Slater that he's been able to run full speed but that the injury is impacting his ability to cut. We haven't moved him down the WR rankings, but you can certainly use the injury as a tiebreaker if deciding between Cooper and a similarly valued player.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said in a Friday radio appearance that he's "confident" a deal will get done with RB Ezekiel Elliott before Week 1. "Things happen real quick, sometime within hours," Jones said, adding that Zeke has been in communication with his teammates during his holdout. This thing was always likely to push up close to the beginning of the season. Deadlines spur action, as they say. It's become less comfortable to spend a 1st-round fantasy pick on Elliott, but we're still expecting him to be on the field for Week 1.

ESPN's Ed Werder reports the Cowboys recently offered Ezekiel Elliott a contract that would make him 1 of the 2 highest-paid RBs in the league. That presumably means Zeke would be making more than #3 Le'Veon Bell but less than #1 Todd Gurley. We'll see if Elliott holds out for even more, but this certainly qualifies as a step in the right direction in negotiations. We're still expecting Elliott to be signed and on the field come Week 1.

The Cowboys "hope" to get WR Amari Cooper back on the practice field next week, according to insider Clarence Hill. Cooper has been sidelined for almost 2 weeks now with plantar fasciitis. But he has no doubt that he'll be ready for Week 1, even if he needs to play through the foot issue. “I mean I played with a lot of foot injuries,” he said, noting that he had this same problem as a sophomore at Alabama and during his rookie season. “So I’m pretty good at playing with foot injuries. But I don’t think I’m going to have to play with it.” Cooper added that the pain has subsided over the past couple of weeks, currently putting his pain level at 3 on a scale of 1-10. The plantar fasciitis adds some risk to Cooper's fantasy outlook, but he's still a fine pick at his mid-3rd-round ADP.

The Cowboys on Tuesday activated DE DeMarcus Lawrence from the PUP. He had missed all of training camp after April surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The joint had reportedly bothered him for 2 seasons. We'll keep an eye on reports of his progress, but Lawrence returning a couple of weeks before the start of the season is a good sign that the star pass rusher will be able to help the Dallas defense and our IDP lineups.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked up RB Tony Pollard after the rookie ran for 42 yards and a score on 5 carries in Saturday's preseason game. "If he goes out there and he plays to that level he's going to be [at] for the next several weeks, he's going to be right in the middle of it early," Jones said. "That will really complement what we're doing with Zeke ... I can picture those guys [having] success at the same time out there really giving the defense some fits." Elliott was a 3-down workhorse last year, excelling both on the ground and as a pass-catcher. We doubt Pollard would see enough action behind Zeke to be a real fantasy option. But the longer Zeke's holdout lasts, the more intriguing a late-round flier Pollard becomes.

ESPN's Ed Werder considers it "likely" that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott reports to the team before Week 1. Werder guesses that'll happen between the preseason finale and the regular season opener. This sounded more like an opinion than a report. But Werder remains 1 of the industry's most plugged-in reporters, so the opinion carries plenty of weight. Zeke carries elevated risk in fantasy drafts until he actually shows up. But we're willing to gamble on him at any point from pick #4 on.

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper has missed the last few days of practice with what sounded like a minor heel injury. But Cowboys insider Mickey Spagnola reports the injury is “more of a ligament thing” than a bruise. That's obviously a generic explanation -- but it makes the issue seem more serious than we thought. This has become a situation to monitor closely over the next couple of weeks.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones singled out RB Tony Pollard as a standout in training camp. "Tony Pollard has done a real nice job out there," Jones said. "He's getting a little bit of everything. He's probably one that has stuck out for me if I were going to pick one." The 4th-round rookie played behind Darrell Henderson at Memphis but averaged 6.8 yards per carry and 12.4 yards per catch on 104 grabs over the last 3 seasons. The 6'0, 210-pounder clocked a 4.41-second 40 time at the Combine and registered a 72nd percentile SPARQ score. Pollard has been getting 1st-team reps in camp -- a sign that he's set to play a real role this season. How big that role is obviously depends heavily on whether RB Ezekiel Elliott shows up. We'll continue to monitor the Zeke situation, but Pollard is certainly worth a late-round flier in upcoming fantasy drafts.

A source tells ESPN's Josina Anderson that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's holdout is "not likely" to last into the regular season. Anderson hears that Zeke won't play without a new contract but that owner Jerry Jones wants to get a deal done before Week 1. Of course, "not likely" doesn't mean there's no chance Elliott misses games. Until he reports to the team -- presumably with a new contract in hand -- he carries elevated risk in fantasy drafts.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott remains away from the team and in Cabo. But at least he's training. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Elliott has been working out at the Diamante Resort with his trainers and doctors. That's the same place Zeke trained when he was serving his 6-game suspension in 2017. He returned from that time off to rack up 259 total yards over the season's final 2 games.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott boarded a flight to Cabo on Monday, according to Kevin Turner of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. It doesn't sound like Zeke is planning to report to training camp any time soon. Insider Mike Fisher adds that the 2 sides "aren't yet close" on agreeing to a new contract. The important date here is August 6. Holding out past then would mean Elliott forfeiting an accrued season toward free agency. We'll continue to keep a close eye on this one. If you're drafting in the meantime, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and even Alvin Kamara are certainly safer picks.

Pro Football Talk hears that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott "has privately said" that he'll hold out of training camp absent a new contract. Zeke has made no public mention of a hold out. He still has 2 years left on his rookie deal, with salaries of $3.85 million this season and $9.09 million next. The problem for Elliott is that Dallas figures to prioritize re-signing QB Dak Prescott and WR Amari Cooper, who are both entering their final seasons under contract. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson, meanwhile, hears that Elliott might ultimately show up to camp if he feels the Cowboys "are making a serious push to get an extension worked." We'll see where this goes over the next couple of weeks. We're not adjusting our projections for Elliott right now, but consider Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara safer picks at the top of drafts.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo hears that a suspension is not expected for Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott after Tuesday's meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell about an incident with a security guard at a Vegas music festival back in May. Garafolo described the meeting as more of a "warning" to Elliott, who's been no stranger to off-field drama. We're keeping Zeke at 16 games in our projections -- and he remains a top 2 pick across fantasy formats.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday to discuss Elliott's confrontation with a security guard at a Las Vegas music festival in May, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Elliott wasn't arrested or charged for the incident, but that doesn't preclude the league from handing down discipline. Elliott, of course, was previously handed a 6-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. The Las Vegas incident doesn't seem like something that warrants a suspension -- but you never know with Goodell. We'll continue to monitor the situation.

Bengals rookie OT Jonah Williams will "likely" miss the entire 2019 season after undergoing surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, the team announced. It's a massive blow to a team that was planning on its 1st-rounder stepping right in at LT. Cordy Glenn is now expected to move back to that spot. He ranked 60th among 80 qualifying OTs in Pro Football Focus' 2018 grades.


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