In one of the least dramatic decisions in the history of the fifth-year option, the Cowboys will exercise Ezekiel Elliott‘s. Stephen Jones confirmed Wednesday (via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, on Twitter) the team will pick up the Pro Bowl running back’s 2020 option.
Selected with the 2016 No. 4 overall pick, Elliott quickly became one of the league’s best backs. He has emerged as an impact player in Dallas, continuing the franchise’s storied running back history.
This option will mean a $9.09MM 2020 salary for the Ohio State product, though negotiations for a new contract in the meantime figure to begin fairly soon. However, the Cowboys and Elliott have not started extension talks, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
Elliott reported for the start of the Cowboys’ offseason program this week, despite being viewed as a holdout risk. But now that he is extension-eligible, this situation is one to monitor this offseason. Both Todd Gurley and David Johnson signed extensions before the start of their fourth seasons, and Elliott — who joins them in having an All-Pro nod on his resume — will stand to want a similar contract.
Despite Gurley being named All-Pro last season, Elliott finished with a career-high 2,001 yards from scrimmage and needed only 15 games to get there. The Cowboys gave him 381 touches, far more than the 354 he amassed during the 2016 season in which he won the rushing title. He has already accumulated 1,003 touches — far more than Gurley or Johnson when they signed their second contracts — so this summer could be important in securing his landmark deal, before the Cowboys attempt to tack on another 350-plus touches to his odometer.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.