It appeared that star running back Ezekiel Elliott would never reach a deal with the Dallas Cowboys, opting to hold out for a massive payday. Elliott’s persistence paid off in a major way, with the bruising back becoming the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
The deal has $50 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Ed Werder, surpassing Todd Gurley’s $45 million as the most for an NFL running back. Elliott, 24, was under contract through 2020 and was set to make $3.853 million in 2019 and $9.09 million on the fifth-year option in 2020, making his total compensation through 2026 more than $100 million, which makes him the highest-paid running back in NFL history.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed on CNBC that Elliott had agreed to a deal Wednesday morning.
“I’m $100 million lighter as of this morning,” Jones said from New York, where he and his son, team executive vice president Stephen Jones, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. “Zeke has been arguably our best player,”
“We’re glad to get him booked in. We’re glad to have him on the team. He plays a position that has some pretty interesting dynamics to it because running backs are short-lived, although we had what I consider to be one of the top five greatest ones in Emmitt Smith. And Emmitt ran the ball for 13 years, so you don’t have to have a four- or five-year career to be a running back.
Elliott, 24, certainly has prime years ahead of him at the position. Next year, the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, which has routinely served team owners well and players less favorably, expires thus mega-contracts like Elliott’s could become the new normal.