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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys place franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard

The Dallas Cowboys have officially placed the franchise tag on Tony Pollard.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys were a very good team in 2022, and for a number of reasons. Obviously the success that Dallas had on the defensive side of the ball stood out with players like Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Trevon Diggs, Jayron Kearse, and Leighton Vander Esch carrying the load, but the offense was impactful as well. Particularly once Dak Prescott returned from a Week 1 thumb injury.

While Prescott has his own talents, the Cowboys offense moved the way that it did last season in large part due to a couple of explosive skill position players. This is a rather short list that was highlighted in the season-ending loss in the Divisional Round, but CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard were essential to what the Cowboys did for the majority of the year.

CeeDee Lamb is eligible for a contract extension this offseason for the first time, and is therefore a story for another day, not to mention the team will likely pick up his fifth-year option to help figure out the actual future. Tony Pollard just finished the final year of his rookie contract and began this offseason as a question mark.

There are no more questions. Tony Pollard is not going anywhere.

The Dallas Cowboys are placing the franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard

Sometimes things in the NFL are shocking and come out of nowhere, but more than not things are pretty predictable if you are paying enough attention. From about mid-November to now it has never felt like the Cowboys were interested in letting Tony Pollard hit free agency and they are now officially not going to allow it to happen. It was reported last week that the Cowboys were prepared to place the franchise tag on Pollard if they did not have a long-term deal in place with him agreed to and it is now official. Pollard has been tagged.

The tag value for running backs this offseason is $10.091M so the Cowboys are committing (theoretically) to paying Pollard at least $10M a season if they do work out a long-term deal. This is at the very least what they are defining his rate to be by way of tagging him, but Pollard and his representation could come to terms on something else.

As far as the here and now, there is definite logic to tagging Pollard. The coming season figures to be one of extreme importance for the current Cowboys regime as Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott, and all the rest continue to carry the burden of the franchise for not having reached the NFC Championship Game in almost three decades.

With 2023 being so critical the Cowboys need as many explosive players on offense as they can have and losing Pollard would mean having even less than they ended last season with. Pollard fractured his fibula in the final game of the season which was a cause for concern, but the team has spoken optimistically about him being ready for training camp.

Obviously it makes some sense to bring Pollard back but the Cowboys are now committing serious money to another running back, a position that has proven to not exactly be one worth investing in. The Ezekiel Elliott contract from almost four years ago has only looked worse with age, but perhaps the Cowboys are truly in a place where they will move on from that and fully commit to Pollard as their primary back.

All of that will be figured out in the coming months. For now we know that Tony Pollard will be a part of the Dallas Cowboys in 2023.


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