Ezekiel Elliott's contract situation has seemingly taken a critical turn.
The Dallas Cowboys running back has reportedly said that he plans to hold out of training camp unless he manages to snare a new deal.
Elliott still has two years remaining on his rookie deal from when the Cowboys drafted him fourth overall in 2016. He's set to earn a base salary of $3.853 million in 2019 and $9.099 million on his fifth-year option in 2020.
He seems eager to squeeze the Cowboys for as much as they're willing to give him while his value is still high, and he's wise to do so. Dallas' struggles are obvious without him on the field. Since the start of the 2016 season, they've gone 28-12 with him but just 4-4 without him.
It's also a smarter path than the one taken by former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, who set the single-season franchise record for rushing yards in 2014 only to be cast aside the next year.
Elliott has accounted for 5,247 yards from scrimmage in just 40 career games for Dallas. He's a vital part of their offense and he knows it. If he doesn't get his desired deal before training camp, the Cowboys might be in for a world of hurt.
At just 23 years old, Elliott is an obvious target for a long-term deal, and should seek one now given the short shelf life of running backs in today's NFL.