NFC Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Panthers


  • Cowboys OT Tyron Smith and LB Leighton Vander Esch are not practicing due to a non-COVID-19 related illness. (Calvin Watkins)
  • Michael Gehlken points out that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott‘s $12.4 million salary for 2021 is fully guaranteed after agreeing to a restructured deal.
  • Gehlken adds Elliott’s new contract ties him to Dallas through the next two years given they would incur an extra $5.16 million cap penalty by releasing him in 2023. 
  • Gehlken, citing a source within the Cowboys, notes that the “driving force” behind the restructure was Dallas giving them more cap savings for this season and gaining an additional $5.16 million in cap space for 2022.
  • Gehlken also notes that Cowboys RT La’el Collins walked off of Friday’s practice field with medical staff members for an undisclosed reason. 
  • Cowboys STs coordinator John Fassel said they used “deflated balls” to help ramp up K Greg Zuerlein after back surgery: “The first time he hit a ball, we deflated the ball to about 11 PSI — probably pretty similar to, well, I won’t go there. But we deflated the ball.” (Michael Gehlken)


  • Art Stapleton believes the Giants are limiting rookie WR Kadarius Toney because of a lingering COVID-19 related issue rather than an injury. 


It appears things might be starting to snowball for Panthers K Joey Slye. He’s missed three kicks so far this preseason and was called out publicly by Panthers HC Matt Rhule. After Carolina signed K Dominik Eberle, Slye had a horrendous practice period with three straight missed kicks, all under 50 yards. Confidence is Slye’s biggest issue right now and the Panthers might not be able to wait for him to rebuild it. 

“Joey’s made 50 kicks in the National Football League. He can make kicks,” Rhule said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “It’s a matter of sometimes in life you go through a valley and you’ve got to fight, scratch and claw your way out of it. I’m sure he will. I believe in Joey Slye, and I’m sure he will. At the same time, we have to continue to bring in competition so that we put what we think to be the best opportunity to win out there.”

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