Ezekiel Elliott still wants a long-term deal.
But the Dallas Cowboys exercised the option to keep him under control through the end of his rookie deal, as expected.
Roughly a week after vice president Stephen Jones said the team was “obviously” going to pick up Elliott’s fifth-year option, the Cowboys made the move official on Wednesday, according to sources.
Elliott is set to make $3.85 million in 2019 and would now earn $9.09 million in his fifth year in 2020, barring a new contract.
He’s led the league in yards per game in each of the last three seasons and won rushing titles in 2016 and 2018 while leading the Cowboys to two NFC East titles.
Elliott, 24, is in the prime of his career and wants to maximize his value now. He wants a new deal before his fourth season, similar to Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, who signed a four-year, $60 million extension following his third season.
Jones said they plan to reward Elliott with a deal similar to Gurley’s at some point.
The issue is when.
The Cowboys gave defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence a five-year, $105-million contract extension last month. Jones said Dallas is in active negotiations for deals with quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper
Elliott should be next in the pecking order.
He is participating in the team’s off-season program and shot down concerns about his fitness by posting a video on Twitter of him weighing 229-230 pounds.
He is approaching the situation the right way.
When will he get rewarded?