Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones does not see a problem with Tony Pollard splitting carries with Ezekiel Elliott moving forward. During a September 21st interview with Dallas 105.3 the Fan, Jones was asked how Elliott’s contract factors into the decision for touches among the running backs.
“Well, you don’t [consider the contracts] in terms of the ultimate decision, you do what makes the first down, or you do what gets the most yards or ultimately wins the game and that’s where it all comes [down to],” Jones explained. “The facts are that we really have an outstanding situation here that Pollard gets up on them so fast and can really surprise the defense, he’s stronger than he looks. He just has gotten so sudden, he’s got such a burst.
“Zeke, you don’t need to describe him, he’s as powerful in terms of, I’m going to overuse the word, but his burst. I mean to tell you, he punishes the hell out of those defenders. Both of those are going to be a real staple for us as we get into the season.”
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Zeke Has a 6-Year, $90 Million Contract Compared to Pollard’s 4-Year, $3.1 Million Deal
The question about Elliott’s contract is an interesting one as the Cowboys nearly split the carries evenly in the team’s win over the Chargers. Elliott led the way with 16 carries for 71 yards, but Pollard followed closely behind with a much more efficient day notching 13 rushes for 109 yards.
Elliott has a six-year, $90 million contract that runs through 2026. The running back’s cap hit for this season is $6.8 million but jumps up to $18.2 million in 2022, per Spotrac. According to Over the Cap, Elliott has the most lucrative contract of any NFL running back topping Alvin Kamara by $15 million.
By comparison, Pollard has an $850,000 salary as part of his four-year, $3.1 million deal. A deal of Elliott’s size has already become almost obsolete for running backs in today’s NFL. Running backs are also going later in drafts with many NFL teams finding value at the position in the mid-to-late rounds.
Zeke on Pollard: ‘I’m Proud of Him’
The Cowboys are not going to give Elliott more carries than Pollard just because of his contract, but it does call into question how the franchise will handle his future. To Elliott’s credit, the star running back appears unfazed by sharing the load with Pollard.
“Oh man, I mean, T.P., he ran his tail off today,” Elliott said with a smile during his Week 2 postgame press conference. “He’s a great back, all-around, can catch it, can run it. He’s smaller, but he runs hard. He breaks a lot of tackles. He had a helluva day. I’m proud of him. I’m glad he went out there and did his thing.”
Pollard indicated that the Cowboys have used a hot-hand approach so far this season. The speedy running back downplayed the idea that there is a running back controversy, emphasizing that they feed off each other’s success during games.
“We just wanted to go with who was hot,” Pollard told reporters after Week 2. “We both feed off each other, so if he was hot, we would have just went that way. It just turned out that way for this game, and we got the dub.”