According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Cowboys have converted $8.6 million of RB Ezekiel Elliott’s $9.6 million base salary into a signing bonus, creating $6.88 million in 2021 cap space.
The Cowboys have converted $8.6M of RB Ezekiel Elliott's $9.6M base salary into a signing bonus, creating $6.88M in 2021 cap space.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 27, 2021
Dallas adds more flexibility as it heads into the season and with roster cut downs around the corner.
The idea was to make a slight tweak to Zeke’s salary to ensure more wiggle room to add players as they see fit either now, or going forward this season.
Todd Archer, also from ESPN, asserts “this is likely more about carrying over unused cap space to 2022 not adding a free agent of note or a trade.”
This is likely more about carrying over unused cap space to 2022 not adding a free agent of note or a trade. https://t.co/yJtKakw7ZL— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 27, 2021
However, as Archer states, it is ‘likely’ for next season, but the move does create space to make a move this year if they so choose.
Charles Robinson from Yahoo Sports speculates the money move may be related to the pending status of punter Johnny Hekker.
Hekker is a punter and one of special teams coach John Fassell’s guys. We have seen in the past the moves made on that side of the ball lean toward players Fassell is comfortable with and he has used that familiarity to leverage signings. Robinson feels this could possibly be a move worth monitoring going forward.
Elliott is coming off a year where many felt he was not at his best and he would be the first to tell you that he struggled at times last year. Since the close of last season it has seemed that he has been a man on a mission as he is looking to use 2021 as a revenge tour. Zeke has lost weight down to his college size and become more agile as he looks to remind the league of the player he can be.
The Cowboys will be leaning on Zeke for a quality season, and they used his contract as a way to help out before the year has even started.