Jerry Jones pays Ezekiel Elliott: Time for Cowboys to win Super Bowl

Golic Jr.: Jerry Jones wants all eyes on the Cowboys (0:35)

Mike Golic Jr. asserts that the way Jerry Jones has rolled out player deals has shifted the focus away from Week 1 of the NFL's 100th season and to the Dallas Cowboys. (0:35)

FRISCO, Texas -- Now that running back Ezekiel Elliott has his contract extension, there is one thing left for the Dallas Cowboys to do -- win the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys' goal has been to keep their core pieces in place. It started with Pro Bowl pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence (five-year deal, $101 million), continued with linebacker Jaylon Smith (five-year extension, $64 million) and right tackle La'el Collins (five-year extension, $50 million), and now Elliott has a six-year contract extension ($90 million).

The Cowboys still want to lock up quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper for the long term, but there was no question that they would play in Sunday's season opener against the New York Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox). Maybe Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones can slice away more pieces of the salary-cap pie to cornerbacks Byron Jones, Anthony Brown and others to keep players for the future as well.

Jones believes he has the talent to do something the franchise has not done since 1995 (win a Super Bowl) and compete for years to come with a roster full of players who are entering their prime.

Getting a deal done with Elliott was a more arduous task than many would have originally believed. Elliott was signed through 2020 and set to make $3.853 million this season and $9.09 million in 2020, but he wanted to be taken care of sooner rather than later, knowing he already has surpassed a running back's average shelf life of three seasons. The Cowboys were willing to compromise because they had Elliott under contract for two more years, but there were several negotiating roadblocks between team and agent that prolonged the inevitable conclusion.

In the end, Elliott gets his cash now, at 24 years old, and the Cowboys will pay him as the best running back in football before he hits the running back wall, typically in the late 20s or early 30s.

Determining how quickly Elliott can get up to speed is impossible. He was not going to get a carry in the preseason anyway, but missing all of the practices has to matter at least a little bit. The Cowboys are of the belief he was doing his best to keep himself in shape while he was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

During his six-game suspension in 2017, he worked out in Cabo but did not return in the best playing condition. In the final two games of that season, he ran for 200 total yards on 51 carries against the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles. That production came with the benefit of a full training camp and eight regular-season games.

Now he arrives at the start of the 2019 season with his last work with his teammates coming during June's mandatory minicamp.

At least early, the Cowboys will have to spell Elliott more than they have in the past. They have come to adore rookie Tony Pollard, their 2019 fourth-round pick, and they also have veteran Alfred Morris in case of an emergency.

Jones referenced the season as a "marathon" during negotiations with Elliott's camp. The Cowboys would be wise to make sure Elliott can reach the finish line by not overworking him at the start and potentially making him susceptible to injury, no matter what type of shape he might be in from running on the beach.

If Elliott had continued to hold out, Jones thought the Cowboys could win in 2019.

Now that the Cowboys have Elliott under contract and several of their core players in place, they have to be considered one of the better teams in the NFC and a contender to make it to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

There are no more excuses.