Dallas Cowboys

Obstacles remain, but contract talks between Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott continue

The Dallas Cowboys are moving closer to getting a deal done with holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott, per sources.

Obstacles remain in regards to structure and language, but progress has been made in hopes of getting him back in the fold, at practice this week and playing in Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants.

Elliott, who has been working out in Cabo San Lucas since the start of training camp, remains in the Mexican resort city.

He was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list when the Cowboys finalized their 53-man roster Saturday.

The team will have to make a move to clear space for Elliott if and when he does sign.

Elliott, who has two years remaining on his rookie deal with a $3.853 million base salary in 2019, has hoped to surpass Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley as the league’s highest-paid running back. Gurley got a four-year, $57.5 million extension before last season. It included a $21 million signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $14.375 million.

The Cowboys have offered a deal that would have made the two-time NFL rushing champ No. 2 in terms of salary.

The two sides have mended some of their differences in the past 24 to 48 hours, allowing them to aggressively progress toward a deal. But how the money is paid out remains an issue, putting a snag in the momentum and resulting in silence for much of Sunday.

The Cowboys are expected to move rookie guard Connor McGovern (torn pectoral) to the injured reserve list Monday, creating an open spot — conceivably for Elliott if a deal can get done.

Time is of the essence for the game Sunday, but also in terms of holdout penalties.

Elliott is already facing more than $2.5 million in fines for missing 37 days of camp and the preseason. Once the season starts, he could be fined $226,000 for each missed game, in addition to daily fines for missed practices.

The Cowboys got good news Sunday when none of the players they released Saturday were picked up off waivers. They also claimed no one off waivers from other teams.

It allowed the Cowboys to be selective in choosing their 10-man practice squad, though more changes could be made Monday.

The Cowboys signed eight camp favorites back to the practice squad: defensive lineman Daniel Wise, cornerback Donovan Olumba, cornerback Mike Jackson, receiver Cedrick Wilson, tackle Mitch Hyatt, linebacker Chris Covington, running back Mike Weber and running back Jordan Chunn.

They also signed former Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson, a 2019 fifth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, and tight end Cole Hikutini, who was released by the Vikings, to the practice squad.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.
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