DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has returned from Cabo once again, just five days before the start of the NFL season, as the all-Pro running back nears closer to a deal that would have him on the field for Dallas' Week 1 game against the New York Giants.

Elliott's representation flew back as well. Elliott's agents and the Cowboys organization have been locked in a negotiation for the past month, as Elliott held out of Training Camp. The two-time leading rusher seeks a contract that would make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

A source close to Elliott has maintained that a deal is imminent since Saturday, and has not wavered from that belief. A deal could be in place by the end of the day Tuesday, with a possible announcement of that deal as early as Wednesday.

A Cowboys front office source has thrown a bit of water on those optimistic tunes sung by the Elliott camp, saying in recent days that they "weren't close," and that they still had "everything" to work on in the negotiation. That same source acknowledged Tuesday morning that today's agreement with right tackle La'el Collins helps clear some space to get the Elliott extension done. It's "all part of the puzzle", he said. 

It appears the pieces are being put into place, now.

The Cowboys do not practice on Tuesday, so the next time Elliott could theoretically be on the field would be at Wednesday morning's practice, which begins at 11:15 a.m.

If he misses that, he would still have practices at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday and Friday to take part in, to ramp up to speed in time for the Giants game. Elliott has been training over the past month in Cabo, to keep himself in shape for the 2019 season.

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