The Cowboys‘ strategy of prioritizing extension for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper over Ezekiel Elliott have seemingly influenced the two-time rushing champion to consider a holdout. While Elliott is signed through the 2020 season and can be controlled on a 2021 franchise tag, a path the Cowboys appear to be pondering, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets the team’s best move would be to extend Elliott now in order to have the remaining $12.9MM on his contract become part of the extension’s guarantee structure. The Cowboys should structure a deal that would enable them to cut bait after the first year of the extension, which if done now would be 2021, Fitzgerald adds (on Twitter). That would be unlikely to happen if Elliott heads into 2020 without an extension. Having not yet met the service-time requirements for free agency, Elliott must report to the Cowboys by Aug. 6. This gives the team considerable leverage against a 2019 holdout. A 2020 holdout would become more complicated.
With the NFC East teams wrapping up their offseasons, here is the latest out of this division:
- Several Redskins players missed out on some cash this offseason. By either not showing up, in Trent Williams‘ case, to the offseason program (or failing to be there for 90% of it), Williams, Josh Norman, Landon Collins, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Davis missed out on some bonus cash, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Norman led the way on this front, seeing $200K docked from his 2019 salary. Collins was docked $175K, with Williams and Richardson down $150K.
- Staying with Washington, their free safety job still figures to be Montae Nicholson‘s to lose, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. This comes despite the Redskins suspending him in December, for an off-field arrest that resulted in dropped charges, and Jay Gruden expressing annoyance Nicholson missed the early portion of Redskins OTAs. Washington did not draft a safety, and Pro Football Focus graded Nicholson as its fourth-worst back-line defender last season. Still, Finlay expects the third-year player to have a major say in who starts alongside Collins.
- Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders and Corey Clement will be on the Eagles‘ 53-man roster, leaving recent draft picks Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Donnel Pumphrey in danger of the waiver wire. Despite the Eagles investing in each of these players out of college, Saints 2018 sixth-round pick Boston Scott looks like the early favorite to be the Eagles’ fourth running back, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. Possessing a Darren Sproles-type physique at 5-foot-6 and 203 pounds, Scott has yet to take a regular-season handoff. But his experience as a punt returner may give him the edge, per Zangaro. Adams (511 yards) and Smallwood (364) were Philadelphia’s two leading rushers last season.
- The Giants will join the Eagles in having a project offensive lineman in camp. After Philly drafted tackle Jordan Mailata in last year’s seventh round, the Giants signed college shot putter Austin Droogsma. The Giants signed Droogsma, who last played football as a high-schooler 2012, in May and will try the 6-4, 345-pound track convert as a guard, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. While at Florida State, Droogsma won the 2018 ACC indoor and outdoor titles and finished both seasons as an All-American. Mailata, a rugby standout, spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad; the Giants’ P-squad would seem like the best-case scenario for Droogsma in 2019.