Ezekiel Elliott

WR Amari Cooper To Re-Sign With Cowboys

Amari Cooper is about to get paid. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the star wideout intends to re-sign with the Cowboys on a five-year, $100MM deal. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the deal contains a whopping $60MM in guaranteed money.

While Cooper hasn’t necessarily established himself as one of the league’s top-tier receivers, it always seemed like he was heading towards a contract that would pay him $20MM per season. Wideouts of Cooper’s caliber or age rarely reach free agency, so it was clear that the Cowboys would have to come close to Julio Jones’ $22MM-per-year deal. Ultimately, Cooper’s $20MM average annual value will rank second at the position, bumping Michael Thomas‘ $19.25MM-AAV to the third spot.

A number of teams have been loosely connected to Cooper throughout the offseason, but Schefter tweets that one rival was pushing hard for the receiver’s services: the Washington Redskins. As Schefter notes, the Redskins pursued Cooper today and tried “to pry him away” from their divisional rival. The Broncos were also recently mentioned as a potential suitor.

Cooper earned his fourth career Pro Bowl nod following another productive season in 2019. In 16 games, the 25-year-old hauled in 79 catches for a career-high 1,189 receiving yards and a career-high eight receiving touchdowns. Cooper joined the Cowboys midway through the 2018 season following a trade with the Raiders.

Now, the Cowboys can focus on extending Dak Prescott to a new contract. Earlier today, we learned that the organization was placing the exclusive franchise tag on their Pro Bowl quarterback. At the same time, the organization watched as cornerback Byron Jones inked a lucrative deal with the Dolphins. Considering the cap constraints, it’s not surprising that ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the front office restructured the deals of both running back Ezekiel Elliott and offensive tackle La’el Collins earlier today.

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Cowboys Notes: Elliott, Prescott, Cooper

With the Cowboys having extended running back Ezekiel Elliott, focus now turns to quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout Amari Cooper. The Cowboys are hopeful that they can complete deals by Sunday’s season opener, although executive vice president Stephen Jones seemed a bit more cautious in his optimism.

“Don’t ever say never,” Jones said (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “The season doesn’t start until Sunday. We still got three or four days here. Obviously we’ve ended up signing a few players we didn’t necessarily know we were going to sign, but at the same time, I certainly felt optimistic that we can get these guys. Whether it’s by the start of the season or if it goes over that, it does. That was our goal. Sometimes you don’t get it quite done on the exact timing that you had hoped, but obviously the ultimate goal is to get them signed.”

Prescott also expressed some hope that a deal would get done, but he also acknowledged that his entire focus is on this weekend’s contest against the Giants.

“Obviously I want to see it done,” Prescott said. “To put a time frame on it, I think I’ve said this before, I’m not going to do that. At this point my focus is all on the Giants and the Giants defense and what this team needs to do to win the game. And next week it will roll to the next opponent. I don’t want to blur my mind or distract myself any with thinking about those talks or thinking about what’s going on when I’ve got enough on my plate to handle. So I’m just focused on the Giants and I’ve got people to take care of [the contract].”

Let’s check out some more notes out of Dallas…

  • As David Moore of the Dallas News points out, the Cowboys have handed out more than $300MM ($185.5MM guaranteed) to four players over the past five months: Elliott, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, linebacker Jaylon Smith, and offensive lineman La’el Collins. Now, the front office has to fit Prescott and Cooper into their budget, but Moore sounds confident that the organization will get the duo signed thanks to Jerry Jones’ willingness to take risks. Ultimately, the owner doesn’t want a repeat of last season, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to optimize the 2019 squad.
  • The Cowboys were granted a roster exemption for Elliott that will expire on September 16th, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. This means the team doesn’t have to make room for the running back on the active roster until that date, although they can still carry only 46 players on game day.
  • Rapoport also tweets that the Cowboys aren’t concerned about Elliott’s preseason absence. The 24-year-old already has 868 career carries, an indicator that he’s plenty familiar with the offense. Ultimately, the team was confident that whenever the running back showed up, he’d be ready to go.
  • ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum observes (on Twitter) that the Cowboys only gave Elliott a $7.5MM signing bonus, which is a far cry from Todd Gurley‘s $21MM signing bonus. That means the rest of the running back’s $42.55MM can be voided if he’s hit with another suspension. Ultimately, the Cowboys got protection in case of any off-field issues, but they also are willing to pay Elliott as long as he stays out of trouble. Meanwhile, Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that the Cowboys effectively gave Elliott a fully-guaranteed deal through four years, which is pretty unprecedented for the position.

Latest On Ezekiel Elliott’s Extension

Ezekiel Elliott‘s long-rumored extension was finalized early Wednesday morning, and more details are now available. Of the $50MM fully guaranteed in this six-year, $90MM re-up, only $28.1MM is fully guaranteed at signing. That still places Elliott second among running backs, behind only Saquon Barkley‘s rookie deal.

However, Elliott will soon be in line to bump that guaranteed figure north of $37MM. In addition to his $7.5MM signing bonus, a $752K 2019 base salary and a fully guaranteed $19.8MM option bonus due in March, a $9.6MM injury guarantee for 2021 becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2020 league year, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports. The same structure is in place for the 2022 season, only that March 2021 injury-to-full guarantee transition involves a $12.4MM figure.

Altogether, Elliott being a Cowboy in mid-March of 2021 would secure him $50.1MM — the most guaranteed money for a running back.

This extension does include a $15MM AAV, though it took a through-2026 pact to for the Cowboys and Elliott to get there. Todd Gurley ($14.38MM AAV) is signed through 2023. Elliott only counts $6.3MM against Dallas’ 2019 cap; that figure climbs to $10.9MM in 2020, $13.7MM in 2021 and $16.5MM in 2022, per Spotrac. In 2023, the Cowboys could get out of the deal with only a $6.7MM dead-money charge. After 2022, this would stand to be a year-to-year proposition for the Cowboys.

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Cowboys Sign Ezekiel Elliott To Extension

It’s a done deal for the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott. At long last, America’s Team has ended America’s biggest ongoing football saga by inking a brand new extension with the star running back. 

Elliott’s new deal will give him $90MM over the course of a six-year add-on. The deal includes a whopping $50MM in guarantees, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter) hears, though it’s unclear how much is fully guaranteed at signing.

More importantly, perhaps, the deal will bring an end to his 40-day holdout. With that, Elliott will take the field on Sunday against the Giants for the club’s 2019 season opener.

It remains to be seen how Elliott will adjust to the quick turnaround, as well as the plays of new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. On the plus side, Moore’s offensive game plan is not believed to be a radical departure from the playbook of last year. Also, head coach Jason Garrett seems to think that Elliott will be able to pick up where he left off.

Zeke is as capable as anybody I know,” Garrett said. “He’s an experienced player, he’s been a really good player for us, he knows our system of football. I don’t think they’ll be a lot of learning there. He’s a smart guy, an instinctive guy.”

In theory, the new deal ties Elliott to the Cowboys for the next eight seasons, though the exact breakdown of the deal may reveal that it’s something more akin to a four or five-year commitment for Dallas. Either way – it’s a lengthy add-on with enough cash to satisfy Zeke.

Here’s what we do know: Elliott’s “new money,” on average, gives him $15MM per season. That’s enough to match the league-high AAV for running backs, a mantle that used to belong solely to Rams star Todd Gurley.

Next up for the Cowboys – new deals for quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. If they ink both players to long-term deals, they’ll likely have Top 5 AAVs at the QB, RB, and WR position.

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Latest On Ezekiel Elliott

It was reported earlier today that Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys were nearing an agreement on a six-year, $90MM extension. While we are not quite across the goal line, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Elliott is flying back to Dallas to be ready in the event that he and the team come to terms on an agreement.

Owner Stephen Jones and Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, are scheduled to meet this evening, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link). Moore cautions that a deal has not yet been agreed to, even in principle.

Elliott has a desire to surpass Todd Gurley‘s near $15MM AAV deal and become the highest-paid running back the league. The previously reported deal would do just enough to accomplish that goal and it would surpass Gurley’s deal in length by two seasons. The eight-year extension would keep Zeke under contract through the 2026 season, though as our own Zach Links previously noted, it may not be a true eight-year deal based on the guarantees, cash flow and overall structure of the arrangement.

The Cowboys are not seeking a front-loaded contract, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports relays on Twitter. The scribe notes that the 30 percent rule has been a barrier in striking a deal thus far.

Dallas agreed to a five-year extension with La’el Collins earlier today with sources telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link) that the deal created $5.7MM in cap space for the Cowboys this season. Such a move could be designed to facilitate a new Elliott contract.

Should Elliott sign today, the Cowboys expect him to play on Sunday against the Giants. Arceneux flew quarterback Tanner Lee, who is also his client, to Cabo to help the running back work on his passing game and two-minute offense, as ESPN’s Ed Werder relays (Twitter link). Hall-of-Fame running back Marshall Faulk has also been working out with Elliott in Mexico.

The Cowboys called up RB Jordan Chunn from the practice squad and they have rookie Tony Pollard and Alfred Morris in the fold, so Dallas has a full backfield ready in the event that Elliott doesn’t sign this week. Pollard is rumored to be the strongest candidate for a lead-back role if Elliott misses any games.

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Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott Nearing Deal

It’s happening – we think. The Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott are nearing agreement on a deal that would allow the running back to suit up for Week 1, Mike Florio of PFT hears. 

Word has it that this would be a six-year, $90MM extension. That deal would tie Elliott to the Cowboys for an unfathomable eight years, since he has two years remaining on his rookie contract.

Of course, as with any NFL deal, it wouldn’t be a true eight-year deal. The guarantees, cash flow, and structure will dictate how long the Cowboys are truly committed to their star running back.

If all goes well, the Cowboys will have Elliott in action against the Giants on Sunday.

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Latest On Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

Over the weekend it looked like the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott were nearing an extension, then things slowed down a bit. Obviously no deal has been struck, but now we have more details on what exactly is holding things up.

The two sides are apparently close on the total amount of guaranteed money in a new deal, but they’re further apart on average annual salary, sources told Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Elliott has been seeking to become the league’s highest-paid running back, while the Cowboys have been reluctant to eclipse what the Rams gave Todd Gurley. Gurley got around $15MM annually, while Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson both got closer to $13MM on their extensions.

Elliott has been staying away from the team and training on his own, and the start of the regular season is now less than a week away. The Cowboys are apparently trying to get a deal done in time for Elliott to be on the field for Wednesday’s practice, the first full practice of the week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said in a video posted to Twitter.

The Cowboys called up running back Jordan Chunn from the practice squad earlier today, something they probably wouldn’t have done if they were overly confident in Zeke being back for the opener. Rapoport’s comments seemed to suggest that if something isn’t done by Wednesday, Elliott won’t be on the field in Week 1 against the Giants. Fourth-round rookie Tony Pollard will assume the lead-back role if Elliott doesn’t play.

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Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott Moving Towards Deal

The Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott are moving toward a deal, Clarence Hill of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) also hears that serious progress has been made over the last 24 hours, though obstacles still remain.

We heard this morning that the two sides still have significant ground to cover, so it’s unclear if this is a case of actual progress in negotiations, or a case of conflicting stories.This morning’s update suggested that the two sides are simply getting back to the table after weeks of silence. Hill’s tweet, meanwhile, suggests that things are moving in a positive direction. Either way, we can say this with confidence – there’s an increased sense of urgency and optimism coming from both sides of the table.

Elliott’s guarantees appear to be the holdup at this stage. Zeke likely wants guarantees in the range of Todd Gurley‘s $45MM amount, a number that would give Dallas pause given the risk involved with RBs.

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Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott Still Have Significant Ground To Cover

The Ezekiel Elliott pendulum continues to swing back and forth. We heard yesterday that contract talks between Elliott and the Cowboys were intensifying, and the fact that Dallas elected to keep only two RBs on its 53-man roster suggests that the club is indeed expecting to have Zeke back for Week 1.

Today, however, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports that the two sides still have significant ground to cover. Moore says talks are certainly intensifying, but given that there had been no meaningful dialogue over the last few weeks, the mere fact that the parties returned to the negotiating table this weekend represents marked progress. The word “intensifying” should not necessarily be construed to mean that a deal is close.

As Moore reiterates, the primary issue in negotiations is the guaranteed money. The AAV gap between the league’s current highest-paid RBs — Todd Gurley‘s $14.3MM and Le’Veon Bell‘s $13.1MM — isn’t making player or team lie awake at night. The gulf between Gurley’s $45MM guarantee and David Johnson‘s $31.8MM guarantee is the real holdup, as the Cowboys don’t want to set the RB market in terms of guarantees given that there is already a huge gap between Gurley and the next player at his position.

It feels like an agreement may not be too far away, but there is still significant legwork to be done.

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Talks Between Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott “Intensifying”

It sounds like Ezekiel Elliott could be on the field for Week 1. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that talks between the Cowboys and the star running back are “intensifying.” Both sides are determined to finalize a new deal this weekend.

While there have been plenty of recent reports regarding negotiations between both sides, it sounded like the two sides hadn’t made any progress in recent weeks. We heard earlier this week that both camps were standing strong on their initial offers; the Cowboys had offered a contract that was assumed to be around $14MM, while Elliott was seeking a deal that would pay him $15MM per season (thus setting the benchmark at the position).

While the organization had reportedly made an Elliott extension a priority, owner Jerry Jones said yesterday that he was operating as if their star running back wouldn’t be on the field. Regardless, today’s report is the most clarity we’ve received in some time, and it’s good news for Dallas that both sides are focused on completing a deal.

While team’s are understandably wary of handing out big money to running backs, Elliott has proved that he deserves to be one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL. The former fourth-overall pick showed off his pass-catching prowess in 2018, hauling in a career-high 77 receptions for 567 yards and three scores. He was also prolific in the running game, compiling 1,434 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Perhaps most importantly, Elliott managed to play in 15 games after being limit to only 10 in 2017.

Had Zeke ended up sitting out part of the regular season, the Cowboys were ready to roll with rookie running back Tony Pollard and veteran Alfred Morris. Assuming an extension gets done, the organization now has a formidable trio of backs to rely on from the start of the season.

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