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Report: Cowboys offered contract to Ezekiel Elliott that would put him in top two highest-paid RBs

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The Cowboys are willing to give Zeke a lot of money.

Divisional Round - Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are in the middle of contract negotiations with Ezekiel Elliott and over the course of the last few weeks there hasn’t seemed to be much progress.

How do we know that? Well, Elliott isn’t training with the Cowboys. Considering their season-opener is just about two weeks away, the temperature is starting to rise on this impasse and none of it has been helped by the public posturing happening between both the team and Elliott. If you thought all of that suggested that there haven’t been continued offers, think again.

Just how much are the Cowboys willing to offer Ezekiel Elliott, though? What could they possibly be willing to give him? According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, it’s an awful lot. They are reportedly willing to make him one of the game’s top two highest-paid running backs.

The top two highest-paid running backs in the NFL at the moment are Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams, who signed his extension with the team a year ago, and New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell, who joined them in free agency this past offseason. All numbers per OverTheCap.com:

Todd Gurley contract:

  • $57.5M in total value
  • $14.375M per year
  • $45M total guaranteed

Le’Veon Bell contract:

  • $52.5M in total value
  • $13.125M per year
  • $35M total guaranteed

Werder’s report suggests (obviously) that the Cowboys are willing to offer more than what the Jets gave to Bell but perhaps not quite what the Rams gave to Gurley. The Rams are the team that truly “set the precedent” of handing first-round runners extensions following their third seasons.

Let’s be clear that a contract offer of this value would be a lot of money. Elliott could take this offer and in all likelihood consider it a win, but if he wants to set the market then this obviously falls short of the mark. Is that truly the situation we’re looking at, though?

Fellow ESPNer Jeff Darlington appeared on Thursday’s edition of Get Up and explained what Werder did to a different degree. According to him this deal “is getting done.”

“I was speaking with a source who has been nails on this since the beginning, who said three months ago that Elliott would hold out and was the first person out there saying it would happen. And he’s saying to me right now that... if you look at this situation for Zeke. Even if he doesn’t get Todd Gurley money, even if he beats out Le’Veon Bell, maybe gets a deal just a hair above that... this is a win for Ezekiel Elliott.”

All of this does sort of have the feeling of things getting close between the Cowboys and Elliott, especially given such a detailed report of where a contract figure might lie. Could this be the end and are we close to the league’s reigning rushing champion rejoining his teammates?