Cowboys Rumors: Ezekiel Elliott's Contract Restructured to Improve 2021 Cap Space

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 27, 2021

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) reacts in the first quarter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame NFL preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)
AP Photo/David Richard

The Dallas Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly agreed to restructure his six-year, $90 million contract to create $6.9 million in additional cap space for the 2021 NFL season. 

ESPN's Field Yates reported Friday the Cowboys converted $8.6 million of Elliott's base salary, which was previously $9.6 million, into a signing bonus as part of the reworked deal.

Dallas is hoping for a bounce-back campaign from the three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Elliott posted career-low totals in rushing yards (979) and yards per carry (4.0) in 2020 and also tied his lowest mark in rushing touchdowns (six).

While part of that drop-off can be attributed to the offense as a whole not being as dynamic after quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5, the 26-year-old Ohio State product also didn't look like the type of game-changing player he was during his first four seasons.

The two-time NFL rushing champion didn't shy away from discussing the dip in production coming into the 2021 campaign.

"Just having the year I had last year, you don't need more motivation than that," Elliott told reporters in July. "I just know the type of player I am. I don't think I showed that last year. I got a lot to prove. I just made sure I didn't leave any doubt out there that I didn't do as much as I needed to do."

He added: "I think the hardest part about last year is you kind of feel like you let your teammates down."

If Elliott returns to his previous high-end power rushing ways and Prescott—who's expected to play in Week 1 despite a shoulder injury that's popped up in addition to the ankle recovery—stays healthy, the Cowboys should feature one of the league's best offense.

That tandem will be joined by the wide receiver trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, tight ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, and an offensive line that ranked sixth in the NFL in Pro Football Focus' preseason rankings.

Dallas also gained a little bit of financial flexibility with a projected $5.9 million in top-51 cap space after the Elliott restructure, per Spotrac. It could allow the front office to target a free agent or two for further roster upgrades after final roster cuts.

The Cowboys will face an immediate test Sept. 9 when they visit the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to open the regular season.