With free agency on the horizon, the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the league now know the 2023 NFL salary cap number. That also determines the cost of franchise and transition tags by position.
With the 2023 salary cap set at $224.8 million per club, the nonexclusive franchise and transition tag numbers are now set as well. pic.twitter.com/QRcOpLXbQZ— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 30, 2023
The cap was projected to be at $225 million, which was almost dead on. The cap has resumed its steady upward growth after the momentary setback caused by the pandemic. Broadcast and streaming revenues continue to grow, which means contracts will as well.
The Cowboys already have more than that committed for 2023, which means they have some work to do with restructures and possible releases just to get under the cap for the start of the league year. They will free up far more to sign free agents, both their own and from outside, plus sign this year’s draft class. It is all a fairly routine bit of pie baking for this time of the year.
One thing of potential interest for Dallas is the franchise tag, particularly the running back number. Tony Pollard, one of their free agents, is generally seen as a priority to bring back. He was the more effective runner last season as Ezekiel Elliott struggled to find holes or make big gains. Running back is lower than any other figure except for kickers/punters. There might well be a bit of a bidding war for Pollard’s services as his skills are in demand, his flexibility making him a dual threat asset as both a runner and a receiver. Using the tag on him would also give the team a year to think about whether they want to commit for a longer term, which always should be considered carefully for a position that has one of the shortest shelf lives in the league. The Cowboys used the tag on tight end Dalton Schultz last season, but it is seen as doubtful that they will try to bring him back on any kind of deal this year.
The big downside of the tag is that it all goes against this year’s cap, with no money rolled over to the future. That is a consideration since it means more space has to be freed up. All these decisions and manipulations will be interesting to watch, and we will keep our eyes on them here at BTB.