As Training Camps Open, N.F.L. Players Look for New Deals


The summer ritual of N.F.L. training camp is fully underway. Film rooms are prepared, equipment is unwrapped and players have checked into their rooms.

Most of them, anyway. As usual, some players, dissatisfied with their contracts, are not reporting. Sometimes the holdouts last a day or two. Sometimes, as was the case last season with Le’Veon Bell, the former Pittsburgh Steeler now with the Jets, they last all year.

And holdouts tend to follow a familiar pattern, with the player lying low and the team saying all the right things about “working to get a deal done.”

While receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons has turned up for camp anyway, other key players are no-shows, leveraging their attendance as a bargaining chip. Here are the absentees still negotiating.

Who is he? The superstar running back who topped the N.F.L. in yards per game in each of his three seasons. He was not on the plane that took the team to Oxnard, Calif., for camp, which opened Friday.

What’s his salary situation? He has two years left on a $25 million rookie contract under which the team picked up the fifth-year option last season. Todd Gurley, the Rams’ star rusher, signed a four-year, $57 million contract with $45 million guaranteed a year ago.

How important is he? Crucial. In an era when running backs have been somewhat marginalized, Elliott is a vital element of the Cowboys’ offense. But the two other most important players in that offense — quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper — are in contract talks with the organization and are in camp.

Who is his backup? Tony Pollard, a rookie selected in the fourth round out of Memphis.

Is the team saying the right things? “Zeke’s had a great off-season and we’re certainly excited about what he can do for our football team,” Coach Jason Garrett said.

Who is he? A No. 1 overall draft pick, he has starred as an edge rusher for four seasons. Clowney did not show up to camp and is reportedly planning to sit out the preseason.

Who is he? A fourth-year defensive end, he did not show up for Day 1 of camp, though some speculate he will turn up soon.

What’s his salary situation? He will make $2.2 million in the final year of his rookie deal. He has spoken of wanting a long-term contract.



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