As a diehard Cowboys’ fan, I’ve become used to this before the start of every season.

There’s always drama, fanned by the media, with the Cowboys — and for that matter — every other team in the NFL.

Who gets suspended, who gets hurt at camp, or, as is the case this year, who’s holding out for a bigger contract?

This year the drama comes in the form of one Ezekiel Elliot.

As most of you who follow the Cowboys know by now, Elliot, with two years remaining on his current contract, has decided not to play until he gets a new one — with of course, a substantial raise.

I see both sides of the issue.

Owners Jerry Jones and his son Stephen are in little bit of a financial pickle with the team — at least as much as billionaires can be in any sort of financial trouble.

With both quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper in the last year of their contracts, Dallas is looking at having to renew all three of their star player’s deals in the next year.

The trouble with that is they have renew these deals to retain the three players that got them into the playoffs last year — and still keep their payroll under the salary cap.

As a fan, I, of course, want all three to keep playing with the star on their helmets.

They made a great triumvirate last season, bringing back memories of the triplets in the 90s, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.

The Jones’ faced a similar circumstance with those three in 1993, when Smith held out for more money.

Smith held out, the Cowboys went 0-2 in the first two games of the season and Jones capitulated, giving Smith the money he wanted.

The Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl.

Elliot has not been without his issues, serving a six-game suspension a couple of years ago, and getting into trouble just this summer with an incident at a music festival involving some bad behavior.

Through it all, the elder Jones was “Zeke’s” biggest advocate, sticking by the troubled running back through thick and thin.

It would seem that Elliot has taken that for granted — where’s the loyalty that Jones has shown him?

On the other hand, can you really blame Elliot for wanting to get paid?

The shelf life of running backs in the NFL is short.

When you touch the ball 400-500 times in a season, the body takes a beating, and no one takes more of that than a superstar running back.

Elliot is at the height of his powers, accounting for around 2,000 yards of offense last year.

In two years, when his current contract is up, who knows?

Will his body hold up through two more seasons of hits without some sort of significant injury? Will he be as good then as he is now?

It’s an unknown, to him, and to every running back that has ever played the position.

The Cowboys have said that they have a plan in place to pay their three stars, to make them some of the highest paid players at their positions in the league.

I think they all deserve it. Other than the final playoff loss to Los Angeles, they dominated teams, and went 7-1 over the last few games of the season after Cooper’s arrival.

The pieces are there, now it’s just a matter of keeping them.

I hope, selfishly for myself as a fan, and for all you Cowboys’ fans everywhere, that they get the job done.

Kevin Duke is the sports editor for the Seguin Gazette. He can be contacted by e-mail at sports@seguingazette.com

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