Ezekiel Elliott signed a contract that makes him the highest-paid running back in the NFL. However, if things really went his way when it comes to the negotiations, he would have made Dallas Cowboys history.
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Yahoo Sports) revealed how Elliott's contract negotiations went down. When the Cowboys flew out to California for training camp, Elliott decided to go to Cabo to train for the season. Elliott's agency sent the Cowboys the initial offer and according to Hill, the offer "left [Cowboys’ brass] speechless and had them thinking it was a misprint." The reason they thought that is they wanted $18 million per year and a total compensation of $110 million which would have made him the highest-paid player in Cowboys history.
On the flip side, the Cowboys made an offer which would have made Elliott the second-highest-paid running back behind Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams. Ultimately, Elliott signed a six-year, $90 million contract with the total compensation of $103 million for eight years.
Because Elliott signed the contract a few days before their first game against the New York Giants, he did not see as much action as he normally would. However, Elliott made the most of his limited action as he recorded 53 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 35-17.
"Obviously, I was a little rusty," said Elliott, after the game via ESPN.
"I didn't have the best game I've ever had. I have to improve, but that's just going to come with time and just getting more reps."
With the $90 million of new money, Elliott also receivers $50 million guaranteed, which is a record for NFL running backs. According to Spotrac, Elliott will have a base salary of $752,137 this year. However, his cap hit is over $6 million due to his prorated signing bonus. Elliott's base salary will increase each year until after the 2022 season as the team can opt-out of the contract. If not, Elliott will have a base salary of at least $10 million for the next four seasons.
Even if Elliott's average base salary is $15 million, that's still less than Beckham who has a base salary of $16,750,000 via Spotrac. So while it's not by a big margin, the top wide receivers are earning more money than the top running backs despite the top running backs putting in more work in terms of production on the field.