Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter about Dallas Cowboys players and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.
@ElizabethRichardson: Now the Cowboys have given Tony Pollard the franchise tag, how committed are they to him long-term?
Brandon: The Cowboys might like to keep Tony Pollard around for a few seasons, but nothing that commits to him with a hefty price tag attached to it. The Cowboys already signed Ezekiel Elliott to a significant extension that hasn’t lived up to its price tag. Elliott is still a good running back, but the college game produces many NFL-ready backs. It’s easier now to take one in the third round every four years and develop them into a starter. It looks like if they do extend Pollard, given how many quality free agents there are, it might be after free agency when the running back market is set.
Mike: The tag tells us they want Tony Pollard here, but it also says they have concerns following the injury. The two sides to the Pollard coin playing long term at Dallas is simple. On the one side is his low usage and still having plenty of tread on the tires. Pollard had his highest percentage of offensive snaps last year taking 50% of the running back snaps with Zeke, his previous seasons have been very light. On the other side is he’s 25 years old. Most running backs begin to decline statistically from age 27. This means if Pollard plays on the tag this year and then the Cowboys look to keep him long term after this upcoming season, then they would paying for him at an age when he’s on the downside of his career. Tagging Pollard this year let’s the Cowboys evaluate these two factors and know his value going into the future. And also don’t forget, that just because Pollard is on the tag right now, doesn’t mean when the season starts he’s playing on the tag. There’s plenty of time for both sides to come to a long term deal, all the way up to July 15th.
@DwayneParks: A question on Dak. I like Dak but feel he’s not Super Bowl quality. A lot of the interceptions were on him. With his current contract, what’s the plan?
Brandon: Yes, Dak Prescott threw a career-high interception total last season, but I’d argue that some were not on him. Tipped passes and receivers running the wrong routes caused his count to skyrocket. I also think his thumb injury was something to get used to after surgery, which could have affected his throws. With McCarthy calling plays, you’ll see Prescott be less cavalier with his passes and turn back the clock to being more conservative like he was before Kellen Moore was the offensive coordinator. The Cowboys want to extend Prescott, so he’ll be the quarterback for the foreseeable future. Now they just need a plan to help him clean things up.
Mike: I have to disagree the interceptions were all on Dak. Even if they were, it’s not an indictment of who Dak is as a quarterback. All the great QB’s have had down years in the NFL and had seasons of throwing a high number of interceptions, it’s an issue when it becomes a trend. In terms of his contract, the move to restructure his contract puts his cap hit in 2024 at $59 million, that’s steep for any player. What this means is an extension has to be made to spread that cap hit out and absorb the high price tag over the remaining years. Now they have the space to get their ducks in a row and look at the next stage for Dak’s contract.
@KeithHopkins: What QB in the draft should the Cowboys look to take and groom and who would be a good fit?
Brandon: It would be fantastic if the Cowboys could land Hendon Hooker out of Tennessee. He would probably be a first-round quarterback if it weren’t for the torn ACL he suffered this season. Early rumors indicate a team might take a chance on him early in the second round and use him as their backup with zero pressure to start. At the combine, Hooker met with the Cowboys and talked about his willingness to learn from Prescott, becoming a “sponge.”
Mike: This is an interesting question as Mike McCarthy historically always likes to draft a QB to develop in the later rounds. At the NFL combine the Cowboys met with six QB’s and it will be interesting to see which of those they bring in for visits, if any. They did meet with BYU’s Jaren Hall, he could make for a solid developmental backup. I’m a fan of ex-baseball players at the quarterback position as they translate and perform pretty well (Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray to name a few). He needs plenty of coaching on deep passing and his age is an issue for most, but as a backup player getting taken in the fifth round, age isn’t something that will dissuade teams from the player. He’s a dual-threat and offers a lot of traits similar to Dak, so not much change would have to be made on offense if he had to take to the field. His skinny size is the biggest negative, so plenty of time down in the gym for him.
Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag