Cowboys Could Move on From 1,000-Yard Pro Bowler in 2024: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could move on from RB Tony Pollard after this season.

The Dallas Cowboys could move on from a prominent playmaker after this season.

As written by FanSided’s Randy Gurzi, one of several players the Cowboys could move on from after this season is none other than running back Tony Pollard. Pollard is coming off of a breakthrough season that saw him rush for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career in addition to posting a Pro Bowl berth.

However, Pollard is on the franchise tag, which means he’ll hit free agency next offseason. Gurzi warns that if Pollard turns in another huge season, Dallas could allow him to walk out the door.

“This year, Pollard is poised to be the lead back with Deuce Vaughn and Malik Davis fighting for the No. 2 spot,” writes Gurzi. “Even if Davis earns that position, Vaughn should see the field a lot and this running attack could be much better than anything we’ve seen recently due to the added explosion. Unfortunately, the front office kept forcing the coaches hands and that means we weren’t able to see Pollard truly take off until now and it could be hard to keep him around if he has another huge season.”

Why Tony Pollard Could Price Himself out of Dallas

There’s little doubt that Pollard is one of the most versatile backs in the league. Not only did he post over 1,000 yards rushing last season, he also ran for a ridiculously efficient 5.2 yards per carry in addition to catching 39 passes.

According to Pro Football Focus, Pollard posted an 89.5 offensive grade along with an 88.9 rushing grade last season. Among full-time backs, his offensive grade and his rushing grade ranked fourth in the NFL.

Pollard’s current franchise tag is worth a little over $10 million. That salary makes Pollard the sixth-highest paid running back in the NFL. While the Cowboys have shown little hesitation in paying big money to their franchise running backs — Ezekiel Elliott was previously the highest-paid back with a $90 million deal — one can assume they won’t place another franchise tag on Pollard. A second consecutive franchise tag would pay Pollard 120% of the salary he earned during the first franchise tag.

Why the Cowboys Could Bring Back Tony Pollard After 2023

While the Cowboys could certainly move on from Pollard if his market is huge, there’s one major problem — Dallas doesn’t have a running back in waiting to replace him. Dallas had little issue moving on from Elliott this offseason because Pollard had proven he could take over full-time duties. There is no such current backup on Dallas’ roster.

Malik Davis has just one year of experience under his belt and carried the ball just 38 times as a third-string running back last season. Meanwhile, rookie Deuce Vaughn may prove to be a versatile playmaker, but he’s more likely suited as a change-of-pace back at 5-foot-5, 179 pounds. To round things out, veteran Ronald Jones is on the roster, but he had just 17 carries in six games last season.

If Pollard slows down during his first full season as the Cowboys’ primary running back — or if injuries continue to be a problem — then he could very well be looking at his final season in Dallas. However, if he turns in another huge season, the Cowboys may have no choice but to sign the young playmaker to a long-term contract.


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