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Cowboys didn’t cave in 1993 with Emmitt Smith

Mike Florio

There’s a common misconception, one that I’ve perpetuated a time or two, that the Cowboys are likely to cave in the Ezekiel Elliott holdout because they caved in the 1993 Emmitt Smith holdout. As PFT’s Charean Williams explained last week on PFT Live and mentioned in a Wednesday item on the Elliott holdout, the Cowboys didn’t cave on Emmitt.

It was Emmitt who abandoned his demand for quarterback money after two regular-season games in 1993, accepting an offer that made him the highest-paid running back in football.

The Cowboys played the first two games of the 1993 season without Emmitt Smith, going 0-2. But they never backed down. Instead, Smith agreed to the deal that made him the highest-paid running back in football at the time but didn’t pay him the quarterback money he wanted.

This time around, of course, the running back who is holding out isn’t looking for quarterback money. He wants to be the highest-paid running back in football. But the Cowboys are trying to base his deal on the contract given by the Jets to Le'Veon Bell, even though they previously acknowledged that the more lucrative contract given last year by the Rams to running back Todd Gurley is the starting point for Zeke’s deal.

So will the Cowboys cave this time? Or will Zeke take the team’s best offer? Ultimately, Elliott could miss six regular-season games, report for the balance of the season, and get credit for the contract year.