Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys making progress on extension

Labor Day marks the first day of the NFL's Week 1 schedule. It also marks a pivotal day in the Ezekiel Elliott negotiations.

The Dallas Cowboys and Zeke's reps negotiated over the weekend and made "some progress" on a new deal, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, but there are still strides to take.

Joining NFL Network's Good Morning Football Monday, Rapoport noted that there have been "plenty of frayed nerves" throughout the negotiations.

"From what I'm told, Ezekiel Elliott's camp and the Cowboys negotiated all weekend trying to strike a deal that would eventually make him the highest-paid running back in football," Rapoport said. "I'm told there has been some progress there. They're not there yet. Certainly, there has been plenty of frayed nerves along the way, plenty of those. But both sides are trying to get this thing done before the season starts. Today obviously will be a huge, huge day, the start of the game week. And the Cowboys would like him in sooner rather than later."

As the Cowboys start their workweek Monday in preparation for Sunday afternoon's opening-day tilt versus the New York Giants, "sooner" is coming up quick.

With Zeke still training in Cabo, the sides will need to push talks forward today to get him back in the building and ready for Week 1.

Rapoport provided additional context to the negotiations and the potential financial hangups of a deal during Monday's edition of NFL Now.

"It's been a little bit of a roller coaster with the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott's representation," Rapoport said. "Zeke, by the way, still in Cabo, still staying away, still making sure he's in shape and the Cowboys and Elliott's people have talked regularly through the weekend to try to get this deal done. They have made progress, they certainly have made progress and as you know until a deal is done there really is not much to say.

"It's not just the overall number, obviously Zeke wants to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL ... it's really about the cash flow, as well because averaging $15 million is one thing but if It's a backloaded deal, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense for Zeke because he may not see that on the backend anyway."

Deadlines spur action. The deadline for Zeke's be ready for the beginning of the 2019 season gets closer by the hour. If a deal is not done soon, the running back won't be on the sideline as the Cowboys open a season with Super Bowl expectations against a division rival.

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