The Dallas Cowboys will not be letting a key piece of their offense go anywhere this offseason. The franchise intends to franchise tag running back Tony Pollard if they can not work out a long-term deal with the fourth-year pro, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The move, if made prior to Tuesday’s deadline, would pay Pollard $10.1 million next season. Pollard’s tag amount would make him one of just nine backs in the league making over $10 million in a season, along with teammate Ezekiel Elliott who ranks second in the league on a per-year basis, at $15 million. The Cowboys could release Ezekiel Elliott post-June 1 and save $10.9 million against their 2023 cap.
Team owner Jerry Jones did not confirm his team’s stance on Pollard when speaking with reporters later on Friday.
“Why would I say that? Why would I say that? You know I shouldn’t say that, because I may be trying to sign somebody else, and I’m threatening him with the franchise tag,” Jones said.
Despite serving as the shorter end of a split backfield with Elliott over the last three seasons, Pollard has grown into one of the most important pieces of the Cowboys’ offense. Pollard is coming off his best season after compiling 1,371 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns.
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Pollard’s rushing output (1,007) topped Elliott’s (876) despite Pollard receiving 38 fewer carries. Among 1,000-yard running backs, only Green Bay’s Aaron Jones averaged better than Pollard’s 5.2 yards per carry.
Pollard will be coming off both a broken leg and high ankle sprain next season — suffered in the team’s Divisional Round playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.