It seems quite possible at this juncture that when Week 1 of the NFL season kicks off, Ezekiel Elliott won’t be on the field for the Dallas Cowboys.

The star running back currently is staging a holdout in pursuit of a new contract, and it doesn’t appear much ground has been gained in negotiations.

Elliott is still on his first contract and set to make a base salary of $3.85 million this season. Given the haul some running backs have commanded lately, the 24-year-old theoretically could see a significant bump in that number with a new deal.

With that in mind, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas took to Twitter to give insight into how running back contracts tend to work. The latter tweet below clearly got Elliott’s endorsement, as he gave it a retweet.

Is that simple retweet hinting at the value Elliott is looking for in his contract? It’s quite possible.

Now, Thomas in the same thread went on to point out that Elliott’s disciplinary history very well could result in him seeing a lower increase from Todd Gurley, but an increase nevertheless.

For reference, here’s what Elliott’s annual value would look like if Gurley’s $14.4 million base salary is used as a starting point.

5-percent increase: $15.12 million
15-percent increase: $16.56 million
20-percent increase: $17.28 million

Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of money for a running back. But the Cowboys are in a position to win now, so Jerry Jones might just have to suck it up and pay Elliott to maximize Dallas’ current window.

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images