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Jerry Jones: 'I've earned the right' to joke with Elliott

Dallas announced one contract on Tuesday, introducing linebacker Jaylon Smith's five-year extension with a 33-minute press conference. But following the proceedings, the conversation returned to a contract that had not yet been signed and a Cowboys player who had not yet reported to the team's facility.

Ezekiel Elliott, who has been holding out for nearly a month in search of a new deal, reportedly took issue with comments made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones this weekend.

Jones joked that Elliott was expendable following a solid night from standout rookie RB Tony Pollard in Dallas' preseason game Saturday, saying, "Zeke who?" Elliott's representation said Monday the RB did not find the quip humorous, adding, "We actually thought it was disrespectful."

The Cowboys owner addressed the mini-spat for the first time on Tuesday, telling reporters, "Look, I've earned the right with Zeke to joke. Period. I've earned it."

Asked if the two sides had spoken since exchanging their barbs, Jones said, "No, but let me be real clear about it: I've earned the right to joke."

Jones' comments came after a press conference dedicated to celebrating Smith but one that was laden with innuendo related to Elliott's holdout and its effect on the Cowboys.

"It is neat that Jaylon understands that when you have a solid roster, you have as many high quality young players as we have, you have to allocate your resources wisely to keep and have all of those players," Jones said during the presser. "You have to do that. That's called team building. And I will assure you this was about team."

Though Jones and Elliott don't see eye to eye at the moment, the two sides have allied amid adversity in the recent past. The Cowboys owner went to bat for Zeke during the RB's protracted suspension saga in 2017, fighting alongside Elliott to appeal the six-game ban again and again, though the suspension was eventually upheld. Perhaps that's what Jones means when he says he's "earned the right" to jostle Zeke in the media.

For the two to come together once again to agree on a mutually beneficial extension, though, Jones and Elliott will have to set their egos -- and apparently, their jokes -- aside. There's less pie in the pan with Smith's extension on the books, and Dallas is hungry for a sixth Lombardi.

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