In a radio interview this past Friday, Jones showed nothing by support over the deals both sides made.
This comes after the Cowboys were embarrassed in a Thanksgiving Day matchup against Washington, forcing some to suggest the team tanking the rest of the season.
Before last season, the Cowboys inked Elliott to a staggering six-year, $90 million contract with $50.5 million guaranteed.
At the time, this made Elliott the highest-paid running back of all-time.
Though that has since been surpassed, Elliot’s contract remains at a high price.
Along with the Elliot contract, Jones supported the franchise’s extension of Jaylon Smith.
Jerry Jones was asked on @1053thefan about Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith and the return on investment on the contract extensions that the Dallas Cowboys have given them.
He spoke with great pride about both players and said he would not devote those resources elsewhere. pic.twitter.com/y8bQ5dH4PE
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) November 27, 2020
Smith, a 25-year-old linebacker, signed a five-year, $64 million contract in 2019 to stay with the Cowboys.
Both of these contracts take up large parts of the Cowboys cap space and may hinder the team’s signings moving forward.
Smith’s Contract Outlook
Many have viewed this as a bad contract and hope for the organization to make a move to shed the salary.
However, Jones has remained adamant that the team backs Smith up and is still happy with the decision to sign him.
“He’s everything and more we thought he could be,” Jones said in the interview. “This is absolutely a winner.”
Smith has steadily improved since coming into the league.
He had a solid rookie season where he recorded 81 tackles with an interception.
His second season was even better, totaling 121 tackles with four sacks.
However, 2019 was his best year as he had 142 total tackles and earned a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.
Going into the 2020 season, Smith was ranked as the 88th best player in NFL’s Top 100 list.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) July 27, 2020
Clearly, the young linebacker has proven his worth to the Cowboys already in his short career.
If he continues to follow this trend of improvement, Smith will continue to just get better.
In the long run, this could look like a big-time steal by the Cowboys, having locked up one of the league’s better linebackers with a multi-year contract.
Elliott’s Contract Outlook
In his time as an NFL running back, Elliott has proven himself as one of the league’s best.
In 2016, he had 1631 rushing yards, leading the league by over 300 yards.
He also led the league in rushing in 2018, with 1434 yards.
After another successful season in 2019, Elliott clearly deserved to be one of the league’s highest paid players.
The Cowboys believed in this too, as they signed the six-year contract with him.
However, he has struggled to find success in 2020.
Through 11 games, he only has 707 total rushing yards, averaging only 3.9 yards per carry; this is the lowest of his career.
He also has had a fumbling problem.
Ezekiel Elliott by the numbers in 2020
1 – 20-yard run (fumbled)
5 – lost fumbles
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 26, 2020
A dip in production may be attributed to the loss of their star QB Dak Prescott, with more pressure being placed on Elliott.
Regardless of these struggles, Jones stood behind his team’s running back.
“I’ve said this before: Zeke is our best player,” Jones also said in his radio interview. “I wouldn’t take the resources that I’m putting there and trade not having those guys for those resources.”
Clearly, the Cowboys still view Elliott as a cornerstone of their franchise and want to hold on to him.
They have the immediate future of their offense between him and Prescott, and they will likely choose to build around them.
While the Cowboys have received criticism for their contracts with Elliott and Smith, Jones voices a support for these players throughout their organization.
Though some may call for the team to shed these salary sources, don’t expect them to move away from these two core players.