Inside the Ezekiel Elliott deal


The full contract is in, so let’s break it down from start to finish. The full Ezekiel Elliott deal, spelled out below.

Here are all the details:

1. Signing bonus: $7.5 million.

2. 2019 base salary: $752,137, fully guaranteed at signing.

3. 2020 base salary: $19.8 million, fully guaranteed at signing. (There’s a $13 million option bonus that triggers the 2026 season; if exercised, the base salary for 2018 reduces to $6.8 million.)

4. 2021 base salary: $9.6 million, guaranteed for injury only at signing. It becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2020 league year.

5. 2022 base salary: $12.4 million, guaranteed for injury only at signing. It becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 league year.

6. 2023 base salary: $10.9 million.

7. 2024 base salary: $10 million.

8. 2025 base salary: $15.4 million.

9. 2026 base salary: $16.6 million.

The deal includes an annual salary de-escalator of $500,000 from 2020 onward, based on Elliott participating in at least 90 percent of the offseason program, participating fully in all minicaps, and participating fully in training camp.

Elliott gets $28 million fully guaranteed at signing. That amount pushes to $37.65 million by the middle of March. By March 2021, it’s $50.05 million.

As a practical matter, he’s getting the $37.65 million to cover the first three years of the deal, and the $50.05 million over the first four years of the deal.

The deal gets interesting after four years, when it becomes a year-to-year deal from the team’s perspective. How many years will they keep Zeke beyond 2022? Will they pay $15.4 million in 2025 or $16.6 million in 2026? Will they eventually squeeze him to take less?

These are questions that the Cowboys will be facing after the next four years and $50 million, regarding whether Zeke will get $52.9 million over the four after that.

42 responses to “Inside the Ezekiel Elliott deal

  1. So, this seems like a decent deal for both no? Team can get out of it pretty early, Zeke gets good amount guaranteed, and given the cap will probably keep going up, seems easier to absorb. Still don’t think it’s where he should be valued, but JJ needs to win now and putting s lot into the next 3 years. But now let’s see if he truly steps up

  2. Now that Zeke has set the Precedent that elite RBs on their rookie contract can hold out after year 3…and get paid their worth…McCaffrey and Kamara would have to be the 2 dumbest players in the league to not do the same after this year…which is both their 3rd year into the rookie contract…Especially McCaffrey because the Panthers can 5th year option his behind…

  3. So 12.5 million per year basically. After 4 years they cut him. Agent gets to claim Highest deal, but in reality Jerry won.

  4. Hmmmm …. the Steelers offered Bell $70 million+ over 5 years with practical guarantees of $40 million over the first three, and you hated that deal but you think this one sets a new market?

    So do practical guarantees count or not?

  5. Ezekiel Elliott seems like the type that;
    1. Will loaf now that he has his deal.
    2. Will be broke 3 years after retirement.

  6. I think it’s wise for all teams to be pushing for deals like this. Does anyone think that the players won’t be getting more money after the 2020 CBA? By 2022 Zeke’s deal will be considered a bargain if he’s still playing at current level. He’ll be 27.

  7. General Moe says:
    September 4, 2019 at 6:18 pm
    I bet he’s cut in 2 years

    15 24 Rate This


    Basically stuck with him for a minimum of 4

  8. Now the Cowboys just need a QB and a real head coach to go with their massively overpaid RB. But the Rams win the insane award by giving Goff $110 million guaranteed over 4 years.

  9. The Cowboys will do like all teams do, at some point they will restructure his contract. It doesn’t mean he won’t get his money, but pushes the guarantees out further in the future. For Zeke, it’s great since there’s no state taxes in Texas.

  10. Just watch. Chris Carson will.lead the league in rushing. If you haven’t watched him a lot you are missing out on a special player.

  11. slimglynn says:
    September 4, 2019 at 6:42 pm
    The Triplets are almost in place.
    I can see a 3peat in our near future.
    The Boys are Back to back to back:-)


    They were in place last season too…..and the Cowboys accomplished nada

  12. These contracts the Cowboys make guarantee one thing: they’ll never win a Super Bowl while they’re in place.

    First, it’s a me and mine culture- no team. And good teams win Super Bowls – not a handful of overpaid divas.

    Second, the Cowboys will be in salary cap hell for the many years to come. They won’t have the money to pay quality players beyond their top heavy diva contracts.

    Third, Zeke wanted this deal before he gets injured. And he will. At least one of those $19 million years will be lost to injury. Maybe more.

    Someday the Cowboys will learn good running backs can be had for $1 million or so per year. Too late now though. They’re stuck with a big cap hit for the next few years minimum.

    Gonna be a while before the Cowboys will be a contender. One and done in the playoffs is their ceiling the next several years. Maybe more.

  13. There are about 80 players in the NFL with average salaries over $14M per year. Can anyone truefully say that Elliott is not in the Top 50 players in the league. Great deal for the Cowboys!!

  14. He will be used up in 3-4 years the way they use him. And I’m sure they plan to run him into the ground

  15. So Zeke gets paid up front, and agrees to the terms of the deal up front, KNOWING all of the possible outcomes as he ages, including getting cut. He has been paid AHEAD of time, to deal with that scenario.

    Yet, if he holds out after 3 years of guarantees, somehow it will be ok and good and Jerry Jones will be some mean old owner because he wants Zeke to abide by the agreement?

    These players get paid UP FRONT in order to deal with the back end of the contract including the possibility of being cut. The owners abide by the deal. The players usually don’t.

    If an owner decides NOT to pay the guaranteed money in any given year, THEN the owner is NOT abiding by the contract.

    These players holding out are spoiled brats in my opinion.

  16. I am surprised there isn’t a stay out of trouble (JAIL) clause in there somewhere!! Wasted money as far as I am concerned!!!

  17. He’ll only get the first 3 years of the deal, but not a bad haul. Hope he can take the pounding.

  18. I hope he plays incredible for the first 2 years of the contract. Then trade this egomaniac to someone who is absolutely desperate for a few solid draft picks.

  19. From a realistic perspective the Cowboys locked up the last 4 years of this contract as a year to year team option or a planned restructure. So really this is nothing more than a 4 year deal at $50 million with $28 million guaranteed at signing and only $7.5 million signing bonus. I am not sure how this contract 1) resets the RB market or 2) is the highest RB contract in history (given that the last 4 years are team option years). Gurley got a 4 year deal for a total of $57.5 million, $21 million signing bonus and $47.5 million guaranteed. So if you compare the two contracts over the 4 years of true team commitment it breaks down as follows:

    Elliot = $7.5 million signing bonus/$12.5 million per year average/$28 million guaranteed
    Gurley = $21 million signing bonus/$14.4 million per year average/47.5 million guaranteed

    Even if you assume the “practical matter” position of the first 3 years at $37.7 or 4 years at $50 million he still only averages $12.6 or $12.5 million respectively. I am not stating that isn’t a lot of money, but it is far from resetting the RB market. Further if he is still churning out the yards after the 2022 season the Cowboys have locked him up for $10.6 and $10 million for years 2023 and 2024 – which would actually drop his annual average over the 6 year period to $11.8 million . . . well below the annual average of Gurley or Bell.

  20. So like I said when I initially heard about this deal he’s only going to realize the $37 Million its not an earth shattering $90 Million dollar deal no matter how you slice it, because they are never keeping for the entire length of the contract…PERIOD

  21. This is basically a 4 year, $47 million dollar deal (spotrac) – pretty fair for both sides for arguably the best RB in the league. The first two years are fully guaranteed. All the haters focus on the 8 year, $90 million number.

    The Cowboys are among the best at creating team-friendly contracts. They did it with Lawrence, and they have done it again with Zeke. The Cowboys can get out of this contract after 2022. It is a solid deal for both parties, and sorry, haters – this contract isn’t going to put the Cowboys in cap hell. This hasn’t been the case for several years ever since Stephen Jones took over the contract negotiations. Dak and Cooper are up next, and with the salary cap continuing to rise, they will be able to work out deals with both and still be in relatively good shape.

    @pennygarver & 12strikes – I guarantee there are provisions in the contract that discuss off-the field behavior, and suspensions. This is basically boilerplate language, and all teams do this. When Elliott was suspended by Bozo Goodell for 6 games, Zeke forfeited his guaranteed $, and that amount went back to the Cowboys. It would be the same with this contract.

  22. Jerry Jones caved like a cardboard house
    I am not so sure. What did Jer-rah get out of this…? Jer-rah got ‘ENDLESS” amounts of publicity over this…this whole thing may have been worked out weeks ago and the NFL had to have been happy of changing the narrative from Antonio (I hate my helmet) Brown to a contract hold out of the most important player on Dallas’ team. I suspect this was a huge PR move on Jer-rah’s part. The whole airport conference with Zeke and his agent looked totally staged. It’s like the Rams and Aaron Donald. His hold outs were all any one was talking about for two seasons then he signs the richest deal in team history. Come on… You’re telling me that deals this large are worked out in 48 hours through emails and coffee? Give me a break.I ain’t drinking that cool aide.

  23. Imma laugh if he gets hurt or gets in another off field incident, both of which are quite possible

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