Cowboys Unlikely To Extend Ezekiel Elliott?

Following the DeMarcus Lawrence extension, the Cowboys’ talks with their bevy of standouts have stagnated. But their priorities have become clear. The Cowboys have begun re-up discussions with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, and despite acknowledging Ezekiel Elliott is “the straw that stirs the drink” for them, the fourth-year running back appears to be on the team’s back-burner.

And they might not any time soon. Based on talks with several close to this process,’s Dan Graziano notes the Cowboys are not only unlikely to extend Elliott in 2019 but possibly will go through 2020 with the two-time rushing champion still tethered to his rookie deal.

Elliott being under contract for two more seasons, with his fifth-year option worth only $9.1MM, and the prospect of a 2021 franchise tag makes the Cowboys comfortable they can retain Elliott at a reasonable price for a while, Graziano adds. Elliott participated in Dallas’ offseason activities, and a recent report indicated the parties were on the same page. But the two-time Pro Bowler’s patience with this situation figures to soon be tested.

The 23-year-old back watched Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson each sign for at least $13MM per year, and Elliott has amassed a historic workload through his first three seasons. No running back has more touches than Elliott (1,003) since 2016, despite the Ohio State alum missing eight games because of suspension and Week 17 rest, and only two backs (Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson) have ever accumulated more touches per game than Elliott (25.1) through three seasons. Another high-volume season, at a $3.9MM base salary, would be a risky proposition for the former No. 4 overall pick.

The Cowboys may not only view Prescott and Cooper deals as more pressing matters, but Graziano adds a Byron Jones extension may be a higher priority as well. This makes sense, given these players are in contract years and Elliott is now signed through 2020. But Elliott’s 2017 suspension helped keep that Cowboys iteration out of the playoffs, and among this sect of extension candidates, he is the only first-team All-Pro.

While a holdout would stand to weaken the defending NFC East champions, Elliott would be subject to fines for missing training camp. And from the team’s perspective, these high-end running back deals obviously come with risk due to running backs’ short shelf lives. Nevertheless, Elliott’s next move will be interesting.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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16 comments on “Cowboys Unlikely To Extend Ezekiel Elliott?

  1. Breezy

    I’m sure everyone in that building loves Zeke, and so do the fans in Dallas. But from a business standpoint it just doesnt make sense to pay him what he’s worth right now considering his usage rate, and his balls-out running style.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Going to have to disagree with you. The Cowboys are spending an incredible 25% more on their OL than the next team on the list. It’s insane to make that kind of payroll commitment if you aren’t going to lock in the guy who has been your meal ticket.

      • Cam

        Running backs have a short shelf life. They simply do not want to be paying top dollar for a guy who will probably be breaking down – and can be replaced somewhat effectively on the cheap.

        • crosseyedlemon

          Be sure to pass along that short shelf life news to Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Which is rather ridiculous because how often does a Jim Brown, Walter Payton or Barry Sanders come around?

  2. ziggy13

    Don’t like Zekes off-field issues, but no doubting he is one of, if not the best RB in the league. If he wants to be a team player and play this season without an extension then by all means, but if they plan to keep delaying talks with him he needs to sit and show everyone how much Dallas needs him

  3. bradthebluefish

    Zeke should sign a team-friendly contract so that everyone can win. Otherwise, I suspect Dallas is willing to let Zeke walk, especially considering how much they have used up his physical abilities.

  4. Guest617

    the league never suspended elliot for exposing a females breast during a parade

  5. Yep it is

    Typical Cowboys. Let’s watch how much $$$ they throw at Dak Prescott. Just about anyone could do what he has done with that line and weapons. The “ Nose Pickers” will extend him to the moon and keep the “ Patsy Coach” and never win.

  6. jb19

    I would rather sign an elite running back for his age 24-28 years instead of a limited quarterback for twice the amount. Elite RBs should be given an exception to franchise tags rules. Really limits career earning power.

  7. RockHauler

    Maybe Dak should sign the ‘team friendly’ deal to let everybody win? Because without a good running game behind him, we all saw what Dak will be as a QB.

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