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2022 might not be Tony Pollard’s last season with the Dallas Cowboys after all

Cowboys considering a contract extension for Tony Pollard?

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Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Entering a contract year, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion 2022 would be Tony Pollard’s last with the Dallas Cowboys. With Ezekiel Elliott still handling the lion’s share of the work load and being locked up through the 2026 season, Pollard’s future in Dallas looked to be all but nonexistent after this year. That thinking could have been a bit premature.

Stephen Jones, the Cowboys executive vice president, recently said on 96.7 The Ticket that they have not yet had contract extension talks with Pollard, who is in the final year of his rookie deal.

“There are some things as we move forward that we just have to take a look at,” Jones said, “in terms of that running back position and the cap and how that works, in terms of Zeke and Tony and how we work those two together. So, we’ll continue to see how that’s evolving as the year goes. But the goal is to have Tony Pollard back here next year.”

There’s a lot to digest here, but it’s the last bit about “the goal is to have Tony Pollard back here next year” that should strike a chord with those of us who would love to see No. 20 continue to suit up for the Cowboys beyond the 2022 season. But, like Stephen Jones says, there are some things they need to take a look at moving forward.

Working out the schematics of everything is the biggest hurdle the Dallas Cowboys have to figure out in regards to whether or not to offer Tony Pollard a contract extension. There’s no doubt his play alone warrants consideration for such an extension, but it’s Ezekiel Elliott’s hefty, inflated contract that could have the biggest impact on this decision.

Zeke still has five years remaining on his massive contract he signed in 2019. However, if the Cowboys want to move on from him in 2023, it would hit their salary cap for roughly $12 million and save them roughly $5 million in space. They could also designate him a post-June 1 cut, spreading that cap hit over two years, eventually saving them almost $11 million.

That ‘out’ the Cowboys have in Zeke’s contract is similar to the one they had with Amari Cooper this offseason. That alone opens the door a little bit for a possible Tony Pollard return. Even if that happens, Dallas would still be swallowing a large chunk of No. 21’s contract and still have to sign Pollard to an extension.

According to spotrac.com, Tony Pollard’s next contract should net him approximately $6.3 million annually. If the Cowboys do decide to save roughly $5 million by parting ways with Zeke, like we mentioned earlier, that savings could be put towards a contract extension for Pollard. Such a move would mean No. 20 would become Dallas’ new No. 1 running back.

There is a lot that needs to be considered between now and when Tony Pollard does officially become a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, but the fact Stephen Jones says the Cowboys are even considering a contract extension for him is intriguing to say the least. Now, all we have to do is sit back and wait to see what happens.