With another off the field incident recently surfacing for Ezekiel Elliott, is the Dallas Cowboys star runner too risky for a big payday?
Just when we thought trouble was in the rear view for Dallas Cowboys elite rusher Ezekiel Elliott, recent video showed otherwise. The minor confrontation may not warrant league punishment, but the NFL is aware and could decide otherwise.
Elliott reportedly is in line for a significant contract extension in the not so distant future. Stephen Jones has eluded it will eclipse Todd Gurley’s $45 million guarantee.
Zeke has multiple offseason incidents since joining the Cowboys in 2016. Is the best offensive skill player too risky for a large financial investment? The answer will focus on the team’s financial risk if a future suspension occurred after the extension.
NUMBERS STILL MAKE SENSE
To save the drama, Elliott is not too risky to extend a new contract with a hefty guarantee. The financial aspect carries very little team risk in the event of a future suspension. It would actually free Dallas from significant commitments if it occurred.
In the event of another suspension while under the new contract…
First, Dallas could choose to recoup a prorated amount of the initial signing bonus in proportion to the games he’s suspended. He also wouldn’t get paid for those missed games and the cap hit for them would be refunded back to that year’s salary cap.
Most importantly, the Cowboys could void all current and remaining guarantees of the contract. The only possible dead money that would remain if he was released anytime following the suspension would be the remaining prorated portions (if any) of the signing bonus. Here’s what former NFL Agent Joel Corry wrote for CBS Sports back in 2015.
"Every NFL contract I’ve seen since the new CBA took effect in 2011 contains language voiding contract guarantees for an exhaustive list of defaults by the player. PED usage, substance abuse, conduct detrimental and personal conduct suspensions are usually among the numerous defaults. Typically, any guarantees in current and future contract years immediately void with a default. The player will still have the opportunity to earn to the salary that is no longer guaranteed on a non-guaranteed basis.”"
Dallas’ main risk with extending Zeke involves potential for performance suffering if a star player misses substantial games on suspension. The Cowboys must have a viable back-up on hand in case of emergency, but the financial risk isn’t too steep.