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Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott make progress on Monday

The NFLPA is reportedly investigation claims that the Dallas Cowboys circumvent player agents in the contract negotiation process.

The Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott continue to work toward a deal that would get him on the field by Sunday.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports that Monday was “more positive” than Sunday, but that issues remain when it comes to the structure of the deal.

The team, per Robinson, doesn’t want to front-load the contract. The 30-percent rule, which dictates structure by preventing major jumps in contract value in any given year, “has been a grind,” Robinson explains.

As a practical matter, the rule requires money to be paid out early or other creative measures to be employed to get Elliott to the Todd Gurley $14.375 million annual average. And, again, the Cowboys don’t want to front-load the deal.

However it plays out, Tuesday seems to be the drop-dead deadline for getting something done. That allows Elliott to get to Dallas for the practices in advance of the first game of the season, and it gives the team the best chance to prepare for his presence in the building and, ideally, against the Giants, on the field.

Despite all the bluster from Jerry and/or Stephen Jones, here’s the reality: Every game they play without Elliott makes the Cowboys more likely to lose, and every loss in September or October can come back to haunt the Cowboys when it’s time to figure out who makes the playoffs, whether those games are played at home, and whether there’s a chance to rest for a week before entering the elimination round. So this deal is likely getting done, and today is the most likely day to do it.