Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott agree on $90M deal that ends holdout
Ezekiel Elliott was finishing the early stretching at the first practice since ending his long holdout with the Dallas Cowboys when the star running back was called to the front of the group.
Cheers rose from teammates Wednesday before Elliott led a brief set of jumping jacks to get the workout moving again.
The two-time NFL rushing champion is back with the Cowboys thanks to a new $90 million, six-year extension that makes Elliott the highest-paid player at his position — and just in time for the regular season. Dallas hosts the New York Giants on Sunday.
“It was really hard. Super hard,” Elliott said of an absence that was in its 41st day, covering all of training camp and the preseason, when the final breakthrough came before dawn the day of the most important practice so far leading to the opener for the defending NFC East champs.
Elliott will get $50 million guaranteed. The $15 million-per-year average on the extension surpasses the $14.4 million Todd Gurley got from the Los Angeles Rams last summer. Gurley’s guarantee was $45 million.
The stalemate with the two-time Pro Bowler came with the Cowboys holding high expectations coming off their first playoff win with Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott. They have won two NFC East titles in three seasons together.
Elliott held out with two years left on his rookie contract, at $3.9 million this season and $9.1 million in 2020. The fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft wanted to be the highest-paid back after getting those two rushing titles in only three years.
Now the 24-year-old is, with a contract that totals $103 million over eight seasons.
“I’m $100 million lighter as of this morning,” owner Jerry Jones said on CNBC in New York, where he and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. “Zeke has been arguably our best player. We’re glad to get him booked in.”
Brown upset about $54K in fines
Star receiver Antonio Brown said the Raiders fined him close to $54,000 for missing a practice and walkthrough last month.
Brown posted a letter on his Instagram account from general manager Mike Mayock saying that he was fined $40,000 for an unexcused absence from practice on Aug. 18 and $13,950 for skipping a walkthrough in Winnipeg on Aug. 22.
Brown also wrote on the account: “WHEN YOUR OWN TEAM WANT TO HATE BUT THERE’S NO STOPPING ME NOW DEVIL IS A LIE. EVERYONE GOT TO PAY THIS YEAR SO WE CLEAR.”
Mayock had given the former Steeler a public ultimatum following the missed practice to be “all in or all out.” Coach Jon Gruden said after Brown returned to the team two days later that Brown was “all in,” but he then missed the walkthrough in Winnipeg.
Brown will wear a Xenith Shadow helmet this season, the company announced. The helmet has a five-star rating from experts at Virginia Tech and was in the “top-performing group” in testing done by the NFL.
Titans swap kickers
The Tennessee Titans placed kicker Ryan Succop on injured reserve and added veteran Cairo Santos to replace him.
Succop hadn’t missed a game in five seasons with the Titans but had been recovering from offseason knee surgery. He had been on the physically unable to perform list until just before the Titans’ third preseason game. Succop kicked in the final two preseason games.
He converted 86.7 percent of his field-goal attempts (26 of 30) last season.
Santos has five years of NFL kicking experience with the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has made 83.2% of his field-goal attempts (104 of 125) in 62 career games.
Last season, Santos kicked for the Rams for two games in October and spent the final seven games with Tampa Bay.
The Titans open the season Sunday at Cleveland.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles will start the season on the injury report. The team listed Foles on its initial report with an abdominal oblique injury — he had some soreness following training camp — but said he’s expected to play in the season opener against Kansas City. … The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a lawsuit filed over the Rams’ departure from St. Louis will be heard in a St. Louis courtroom, a defeat for the NFL team’s owner who sought to send the case to arbitration.