Before the 2021 season, the Cowboys restructured Ezekiel Elliott's contract.
Sources told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that Dallas converted $8.6 million of Elliott's $9.6 million basic salary for the '21 season into a signing bonus, freeing up $6.88 million in cap space.
Every team restructures for cap space. In COVID-19 seasons, teams are putting it off. The accounting method lowers the cap by spreading the incentive over the remaining contract years.
The restructuring gives the Cowboys $12 million in cap space for 2021, enough for annual moves. It might also help Dallas deal for a higher-priced player. The Cowboys may be hoping to rollover cap space into next season, when it's still anticipated to recover from COVID-19.
According to Over The Cap, Zeke's 2022 cap number rises by $1.72 million to $18.22 million, but his contract is guaranteed, so it doesn't matter for Dallas.
The Cowboys could release Elliott in 2023 for $11.86 million in dead money.
On Friday, the Cowboys activated safety Malik Hooker from the reserve/COVID-19 list.