Cowboys sign Ezekiel Elliott to $24.9 million contract

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have started to sign their draft picks, and began the process with first-rounder Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott signed a four-year deal worth $24.9 million, and it includes a $16.3 million signing bonus.

The Cowboys view Elliott, the former Ohio State running back, as a dynamic piece to their entire team, not just the offense. The Cowboys are hoping to recapture the formula that worked so well in 2014 with DeMarco Murray.

Murray, who left in free agency and now plays for the Tennessee Titans, led the NFL in rushing with 1,845 yards and helped keep the defense fresh by keeping it off the field for large stretches of games.

Elliott ran for 3,699 yards in 2014 and 2015 for the Buckeyes, leading them to a national championship as a sophomore. His 44 career touchdowns rank fourth in school history behind Pete Johnson (58), Keith Byars (50) and Eddie George (45).

In the College Football Playoff Championship Game against Oregon at AT&T Stadium, he ran for a career-high 246 yards and four touchdowns. The Cowboys hope he can continue to be as successful with a star on his helmet at AT&T Stadium this season and for years to come.

The Cowboys also signed sixth-round picks Darius Jackson, Anthony Brown and Kavon Frazier to four-year deals.

Jackson ran for 1,078 yards and 14 touchdowns at Eastern Michigan and also caught 21 passes for 201 yards and two scores. With Lance Dunbar expected to open the season on the physically unable to perform list because of a knee injury, he will have a chance to win a spot on the 53-man roster.

Brown will contend for one of the backup cornerback spots. He played in 46 games at Purdue. He had four interceptions as a senior, including three in one game. He had 19 pass breakups.

Frazier started 13 games last season at Central Michigan and was credited with 108 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, two forced fumbles, four pass breakups and an interception. The Cowboys believe Frazier has a big upside.

The Cowboys have second-rounder Jaylon Smith, third-rounder Maliek Collins, fourth-rounder Charles Tapper, fourth-rounder Dak Prescott and sixth-rounder Rico Gathers left to sign.