A few months ago, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones had stated that re-signing franchise cornerstones CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs was “on their radar.” However, this morning it was reported that the Cowboys are interested in settling on a new contract with running back Tony Pollard. Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, both sides want to agree on a new long-term deal.
“He’s in a situation, I’m told, where he’s looking at this as a win-win because he signed his franchise tag tender at the $10.1 million clip. He’s injured, coming off ankle surgery, so he’s got that security regardless,” Fowler said. “But if the Cowboys want to step up and try to do a long-term deal he’s certainly open to that. Nothing moving on that yet but there’s a lot of time before that July 17 deadline. Certainly, both sides are expected to reconvene and talk about a potential long-term deal. The Cowboys would love to get his cap hit down a little bit so they could sign some other players.”
A new contract makes sense for both parties and benefits both sides. For the team, it’s a sensible decision. Pollard was arguably their most dynamic playmaker in 2022 and has had a reputation for making explosive, game-altering plays.
Last season Pollard eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, running for over five yards a carry while working in tandem with the now-released Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard is on the mend after suffering a broken fibula in the divisional playoff against the San Francisco 49ers. He said he would be ready for the beginning of training camp. Yet, Pollard signing a long-term contract with the Cowboys would provide him assurance past this season. After the 2022 season, Pollard signed a franchise tag for one year, $10.1M.
When looking at the running back market, many of Pollard’s NFL counterparts are entrenched in contractual uncertainty. The Minnesota Vikings recently released Dalvin Cook. Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley have not signed the franchise tag offers and are without new contracts from the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants, respectively. Furthermore, Elliott has yet to receive substantial offers from teams as a free agent. The running back market is shrinking. Pollard, being offered a long-term deal by the Cowboys would be like catching a life raft in a sea of uncertainty and considerable doubt.
The team also wins on a new contract with Pollard if the terms are right. Signing Pollard to a long-term deal allows the Cowboys to reduce his cap charge for this season and not carry a large cap charge to a running back as they had done with Elliott. The Cowboys just released Elliott because of a bloated contract, if they go for this with Pollard, the cap charges per year need to be reasonable and not what running backs of the past would have made.