NFL

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is willing to take a pay cut to stay in Dallas

FRISCO – Ezekiel Elliott wants to stay with the Cowboys next season.

He is receptive to what that scenario would likely require of him.

The shortstop is willing to take a pay cut in the offseason, recognizing that a reduced salary might better fit him into the franchise’s plans, a person familiar with Elliott’s thinking said. Dallas Morning News Monday afternoon. He is currently scheduled to earn $10.9 million in salary in 2023.

Elliott and the front office have time to come to an agreement. There is no particular rush as the season just ended with Sunday’s playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. It would be ideal, but not required, for the contract restructuring to be completed before the start of the new league year on March 15.

He was asked about his Cowboys future after Sunday’s game.

“I’ve definitely thought about it,” said Elliott, who signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension in 2019 after a holdout. “I want to be here. I don’t have a crystal ball; I can’t tell you the future. But I definitely want to be here.”

While negotiating financial terms could prove a process, Elliott’s desire to come to the table is an important step toward an eighth NFL season in Dallas. The Cowboys are also believed to be interested in keeping Elliott because of what he brings on and off the field.

Elliott, who turns 28 in July, is regarded as an unselfish teammate, someone who has supported Tony Pollard’s growing role in attack. He’s also reliable in pass protection, fumbling once on 532 touches over the last two regular seasons combined.

Elliott averaged a career-high 3.8 yards per carry in 2022.

Some contexts accompanied the relative ineffectiveness. One component is how the entire running game struggled after right tackle Terence Steele’s ACL tear on Dec. 11. The Cowboys averaged 4.8 yards per carry. carry with Steele on the field in 2022 compared to 3.3 yards without him, including the postseason.

Elliott’s efficiency fluctuated from 4.3 to 2.6 yards, with and without Steele.

“Honestly, when you talk about brotherhood and culture,” quarterback Dak Prescott said, “Zeke as much as anybody in that locker room has to get that credit for being able to be easy and have fun but also lock in. If you want to see a guy who has done it better than anyone else, that’s him.

“For young guys to see that you can have fun when you come into these locker rooms and play this game, but it’s also very important when it’s time to get serious, time to study, time to making sure you’re on your Ps and Qs, you do. That’s Zeke for you.”

Like other positions on the roster, the Cowboys have a lot to sort out at running back this offseason.

Pollard broke his left fibula on Sunday and is expected to undergo surgery on Tuesday. His rookie contract is scheduled to expire on March 15. If the team decides to place the franchise tag on Pollard, it must be done by March 7th.

Meanwhile, this is the first offseason since Elliott signed the 2019 extension that he has no guarantees attached to his salary. That gives the Cowboys some leverage to push for a reworked contract.

Theoretically, the Cowboys could release Elliott and avoid paying him a $10.9 million salary for 2023. Doing so with a post-June 1 designation would mean Elliott would count $5.82 million against the 2023 salary cap and 6.04 million dollars in 2024. Again, they believe in that path. to be contrary to the club’s intentions.

A foundation is in place for Elliott to sign a contract restructuring that better aligns him with today’s running back market.

If there’s one certainty about the Cowboys’ offseason, it’s that Elliott won’t be back under his contract as currently written. And he is on board with that.

Cleanup day in the Dallas Cowboys locker room

Find more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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