The Dallas Cowboys and star running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly still have “significant” ground to cover in order to get a contract done, according to a new report by David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.
Elliott and the Cowboys have reportedly been making progress on a deal, so much so that some think the running back could play Week 1 against New York. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that there’s now reason for optimism in Dallas.
Moore, however, is now reporting that there’s still major room to cover.
The main thing holding up a deal appears to be the guaranteed money aspect. Todd Gurley received $45 million in guaranteed money, a total more than $13 million higher than the next running back.
The Cowboys reportedly don’t have much of a problem in giving Elliott the same yearly salary as Gurley, though the guaranteed money could be a problem.
When the Cowboys talk publicly about not wanting to set the market in negotiations, this is an example. Gurley’s guarantee is more than $13 million beyond the next player at his position.
These are a few of the points the two sides continue to discuss. While it’s accurate to portray that talks are intensifying this weekend, remember, that’s in the context of no meaningful dialogue taking place in previous weeks.
Elliott has been holding out the entire preseason. He has two years left on his rookie deal, though he wants a big pay raise now, and likely deserves one.
Dallas has some leverage, of course. The Cowboys start the season with three winnable games and Elliott can’t just sit out the entire season. If Dallas starts slow, perhaps Jerry Jones will cave and give Elliott everything he wants, like he did with Emmitt Smith in 1993 when the Cowboys started 0-2.
Or, maybe the two sides will come to an agreement before Week 1 and Elliott will be on the field against the Giants.