OXNARD, Calif. — Running back Ezekiel Elliott is not on the plane to Los Angeles with the majority of Dallas Cowboys teammates and coaches for the start of training camp in Oxnard, California, multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday.
That does not yet mean Elliott will be a no-show for training camp. Players have to be at the team’s River Ridge Residence Inn setup by Friday morning in time for physicals and a conditioning test before they are considered late for camp and subject to a fine.
The Cowboys’ first practice is Saturday.
Rumors have persisted for most of the offseason that Elliott would sit out camp in hopes of getting a long-term contract extension, but he did not miss a day of the voluntary offseason program nor mandatory minicamp in June. He is under contract for two more years, set to make $3.85 million in 2019 and $9.09 million on the 2020 fifth-year option the team picked up in the spring.
Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, did not return messages seeking comment.
Coach Jason Garrett told reporters Wednesday that he expected Elliott to be on the plane.
If Elliott does not report, he would be subject to fines of $30,000 per day, while a missed preseason game would cost him roughly $226,000. If he does not report by Aug. 6, he would not earn an accrued season toward free agency.
The Cowboys and Arceneaux have had talks within the past two weeks regarding a deal, but sources have said nothing is close.
Once the team arrives in Oxnard, the plan is to kick-start talks with quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who are in the final year of their contracts, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys do not have a pecking order for whose deal needs to get done first, including Elliott’s.
Elliott has led the NFL in rushing in two of his first three seasons but missed six games in 2017 because of a suspension. He recently avoided penalty from the league under the personal conduct policy after an incident in Las Vegas. The Cowboys have supported Elliott through his off-field issues, and Stephen Jones said what happened in Las Vegas would not impact the negotiations.
The Cowboys have plenty of cap room to get a deal done, adding $5 million with the release of wide receiver Allen Hurns on Wednesday.
They have a history of getting extensions done with players during camp, with Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick the most recent, and would like to finalize deals for Prescott, Cooper and potentially Elliott if possible.
For now, however, the Elliott Watch commences.