It feels like one of the more popular opinions among Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere: Tony Pollard needs to be involved in the team’s offense at a much larger rate in 2022. Gone are the days when 100% of opinions were that Ezekiel Elliott was the team’s top choice out of the backfield. While there is certainly still a way to utilize Zeke, there is no question that Pollard’s usage - whether in the backfield or otherwise - needs to see an increase in volume moving forward.
As fate would have it Pollard is entering a contract year with the Cowboys and they are on the verge of not even scratching the surface as far as how much they should have utilized him over the life of his rookie deal. In their evaluation of the most under-appreciated players on each team across the league, NFL.com chose Tony Pollard when it came to the Cowboys.
APY: $797,582 (rookie contract; 174th among running backs).
Pollard’s 6.4 yards per rush outside the tackles in 2021 ranked second among backs with at least 50 attempts, per Next Gen Stats. His success as Dallas’ No. 2 back helped earn him PFF’s second-highest grade (90.3) among all RBs. Given questions along the O-line, there is a strong and logical case to be made for Dallas to feature more plays with both Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott on the field.
You would be hard pressed to find someone clamoring for the Cowboys to pay Tony Pollard big money next offseason but that isn’t to say that people are unaware of the use he can provide.
When you consider Pollard’s elite production relative to his cheap contract, it makes for a situation where the Cowboys are currently getting an insane value. If they were wise they would lean into that and increase Pollard’s workload given his ability to help the offense, but we have seen them commit to doing this in the past without it coming to fruition.
For what it’s worth, the Cowboys were using Tony Pollard out of the slot during OTAs this week, but again we have heard this song before. Time is of the essence and time is running out on Pollard’s time in a Cowboys uniform.