Clock is ticking as Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott try to finalize $90M contract extension
FRISCO, Texas — There is no deal yet.
But holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys are getting prepared just in case.
After spending the last month training in Cabo San Lucas in a contract dispute, Elliott flew back to Dallas on Tuesday so he can be available and ready to practice on Wednesday to play in the season opener Sunday against the New York Giants if a deal did get done in the next 24 hours, according to sources.
Agent Rocky Arceneaux is traveling with running back Ezekiel Elliott from Cabo to Dallas, per @WerderEdESPN. A source said an agreement between the team and the 2-time NFL rushing champion is “Very close.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2019
Both sides have been progressing toward a deal since the weekend, though, an issue regarding contract structure and back-loaded money has continued to hold things up.
Per sources, the two sides are closing in a six-year extension worth $90 million, giving him an average yearly salary of $15 million a season and the richest contract ever for a running back in new money. Elliott has two years left on his rookie deal, worth $12.952 million, giving him a total package of roughly $102.9 million until 2026.
Owner Jerry Jones has certainly changed his tune regarding the situation from last week when he said he believed Elliott would miss the opener.
On his radio show on KRLD-FM Tuesday morning, Jones said the Cowboys want Elliott on the field against the Giants, while acknowledging that time was of the essence.
The team has Tuesday off and will resume practice on Wednesday.
“It’s Tuesday. You better be preparing with the people you have available to you. We are preparing with the people we have now. It would be great if Zeke would be in that group. We will see how today goes, how tomorrow goes, how the ensuing hours pan out.
“He should be fresh.”
Jones also wanted fans to know that “I ain’t messing around” when it comes to getting his players locked up and on the field in hopes of reaching the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
But when asked if the quarterback Dak Prescott can carry the load against the Giants without Elliott if a deal doesn’t get done, Jones didn’t hesitate.
“Absolutely. Absolutely. Unquestionably,” he said.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) September 3, 2019
Rookie fourth-round pick Tony Pollard will start if Elliott is not available for Sunday. Veteran Alfred Morris will serve as the backup.