While on paper it appears the Dallas Cowboys broke the bank and locked Zeke up for life, the reality is they just committed to two more years and fair money
After the announcement of Ezekiel Elliott’s record setting 6-year extension, declarations like “this ensures he’ll be a Cowboys for life” rang out from all corners of the sports world. Since it’s an extension, the new deal picks up where his current 2-years ends, locking him in for the next eight seasons and keeping him under the Dallas Cowboys control until 2026 when Zeke is 31-years-old.
Since running back careers typically grind to a halt around aged 30, it’s understandable many think this deal will keep Zeke in Dallas for the rest of his career. But a quick look at the structure of this deal tells us a different story.
Ezekiel Elliott may have signed a 6-year extension (making his current deal 8-years), but that doesn’t mean he’ll play the entirety of the deal. According to Spotrac, there’s a very clear out following the 2022 season, making this more of a 4-year deal than an 8-year deal.
If Dallas cuts bait following the ’22 season, they’ll face $6.7 million in dead cap penalties. That’s certainly not chump change but it’s pretty darn digestible should the Dallas Cowboys want to break free from the chains.
If we had to pick a lone “winner” in this, we’d have to go with the team since they can control this going forward and only committed to 2 extra years of Zeke.
Because of this, we should be viewing this contract as a 4-year $50,052,137 deal with a team option to extend. IF the Dallas Cowboys do choose to retain Ezekiel Elliott’s services beyond 2022, it’s at a manageable rate as well, so it’s not like this thing is overly back-loaded either.
Zeke will count $15 million against the cap in ’23, $12.6 million in ’24, $15.4 million in ’25, and $16.6 million in ’26.
It’s hard to predict what the going rate for a Pro Bowl RB will be that far in the future, but those numbers look like they could be decent values given the inflating nature of NFL contracts (and this is coming from me, a #RBsDontMatter guy). Best yet, in those final 4-years, they can escape at any point with little to no cap penalties.
It’s safe to call this a win-win for both the Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke got his status as the highest paid RB in the NFL (kind of) and the security of roughly $50 million in guarantees, while Dallas keeps the average annual salary lower than the $15 million per year indicates because they are ponying up the cash early. Dallas also gets an early out should something happen on or off the field put Zeke’s contributions in jeopardy.
Some in the national media are calling this a clear victory for Zeke, but this worked out to be pretty ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys as well. in fact, if we had to pick a lone “winner” in this, we’d have to go with the team since they can control this going forward and only committed to 2 extra years of Zeke. The only part the Dallas Cowboys are really locked into is $50,052,137 over the next four years (which is an average of $12.5 million). And by the time 2023 comes, $15 million per season may be outside of the top-5 so he may be a bargain to keep.
At face value it looks like Zeke cashed in huge and really took the Dallas Cowboys to the shed. But this beauty is only skin deep and the Dallas Cowboys are fully in control of this team-friendly contract.
- Published on 09/05/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 09/05/2019 at 10:53 AM