Ezekiel Elliott to Become NFL’s Highest-Paid RB [Report]

Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Ezekiel Elliott

Major progress has been made in negotiations between the Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott.

Upon learning that Elliott left Cabo San Lucas and is returning to Dallas on Tuesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the two-time Pro Bowler is in the “final stages” of discussions that will lead to Elliott becoming the NFL’s highest-paid running back, surpassing Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley.

“This thing is not done, but from what I understand, they are, at the very least, in the final stages of a deal that would make Ezekiel Elliott the highest-paid running back in the NFL,” Rapoport said. “This would eclipse Todd Gurley’s number — if this gets done. It is not done, from what I understand. There are still a few significant obstacles to overcome as far as how the money is paid and when it is paid. But, from what I understand, both sides are at least hopeful that Elliott is on the field Wednesday when the Cowboys begin practice for the game on Sunday.”

It was reported by ESPN that Elliott is flying home “in order to be present to sign a contract Tuesday if the sides agree to a deal.” The news came directly on the heels of Dallas signing right tackle La’el Collins to a record-setting, $50 million contract extension, which features $35 million in guarantees — the most ever for a RT.

The Cowboys created $5.7 million in cap room by extending Collins, money they could (and will) put toward Zeke.

At last check, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported Monday night, the Cowboys and Elliott’s representatives enjoyed a “more positive day” following a supposedly contentious turn of events Sunday. But Robinson claims a structure issue is the culprit in oft-stalled talks, with Elliott wanted a frontloaded contract, and the sides still have middle ground to meet.

“Latest on #Cowboys & Zeke. A more positive day. Issues continue on structure. Big one: The impact of the 30-percent rule has been a grind,” Robinson tweeted. “Basically pushes a lot of money up front or forces creative measures to meet Gurley APY. Dallas doesn’t want a frontloaded deal. Progressing.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has toed the line in recent days between cautious optimism and clear-as-day posturing. After initially affirming he’s comfortable heading into the regular season sans Elliott, he’s now “hopeful” the reigning rushing champion will be in the lineup Sunday against the New York Giants.

“We’ll see how today goes,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Monday morning. “We’ll see how tomorrow goes. We’ll see how the ensuing hours pan out.”

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Cowboys RB to be Cut When Zeke Signs?

In a posturing maneuver, the Cowboys on Monday promoted RB Jordan Chunn from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, joining rookie “starter” Tony Pollard and veteran Alfred Morris. But it’s highly unlikely they’d carry four backs after Elliott puts pen to paper, meaning Chunn’s days are already numbered.

Pollard would slide in as Elliott’s backup following a terrific preseason in which he led the team in rushing, and was widely hailed by teammates and opponents alike.

“We feel good about Tony,” head coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “Tony’s done everything we’ve asked him to do as a runner, as a protector, as a receiver, and there aren’t really any issues we have with him,” Garrett said. “He’s a smart football player. We thought that when he was coming out of school.”

READ NEXT: Ezekiel Elliott Flying Back to Dallas for Specific Reason [Report]

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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