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Friday, January 24, 2020

Report: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys expected to have agreement by Week 1

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott has yet to report to the Dallas Cowboys and there appears to be some tension between him and team owner Jerry Jones, but it sounds like it would be a surprise if the star running back is not on the field in Week 1.

Elliott and the Cowboys are expected to reach an agreement on a long-term contract extension prior to their season opener, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported on Thursday. The two sides are not all that far apart despite the recent posturing we have seen in the media.

While Elliott is undoubtedly looking to become the highest-paid running back in football, there’s a feeling around the league that the Los Angeles Rams may have set an unrealistic bar when they signed Todd Gurley to a four-year, $60 million deal that includes $45 million guaranteed. Even Le’Veon Bell — who sat out the entire 2018 season in search of a new deal — was unable to get that much on the open market this past offseason, as he received $35 million guaranteed from the New York Jets and an average annual salary of just over $13 million.

So where does that leave Elliott and the Cowboys? According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the team’s most recent offer to Elliott would make him the second-highest paid running back in the NFL, behind only Gurley.

When you consider that Elliott still has two years remaining on his rookie contract, that sounds like a good deal. He has leverage in that he can refuse to show up this season and still accrue enough seasons toward free agency if he plays next year, but ultimately he has less leverage than a free agent would. Paying him more than Bell seems more than reasonable.

There may be some hurt feelings after the way Jones spoke about Elliott recently, but this is all about money. If the two sides are already close to an agreement, it would be a surprise if Elliott’s holdout continues into the regular season.

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