Dallas Cowboys rumors are swirling about what the team will do at running back heading into 2024. Tony Pollard’s future in Big D is an unknown. The running back is also in danger of continuing to lose reps this season to Rico Dowdle.
All this is prompting speculation on Pollard’s destination in 2024, and how the Cowboys will address the position this offseason. USA Today’s Tim Lettiero’s latest 2024 mock draft has Dallas selecting Arkansas standout Raheim “Rocket” Sanders in the third round.
“Raheim ‘Rocket’ Sanders got his nickname as he ‘has the force of a rocket with the football in his hands,’” Letiero wrote in a November 16, 2023 story entitled “Cowboys 2024 7-round mock draft: 5 prospects who could help.” “His explosive ability at his size is rarely seen from a running back. Akin to the likes of Derrick Henry, Leonard Fournette, and Najee Harris, Sanders is simply bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone else.
“The questions with Sanders come in the passing game and with his workload as he will likely enter the league with close to 500 touches to his name and an ankle injury that derailed his 2023 campaign early,” Lettiero adds.
“For Dallas, Sanders is the perfect [complementary] back. He can grind out those tough yards up the middle and break a couple off as well. Who exactly he would [complement] is more the question as RB Tony Pollard has struggled to stay consistent this year and is a pending free agent while backup Rico Dowdle has impressed in limited snaps. Regardless of who his running partner is, Sanders is more than capable of handling a role in this Dallas offense.”
NFL Draft 2024: How Does Raheim Sanders Fit on the Dallas Cowboys?
Let’s examine Sanders’ potential fit in the Cowboys offense. Sanders is a bigger back than Pollard at 6’2″ and 225 pounds. Pollard’s modest production has created Cowboys news about how the team will handle the position in 2024.
The playmaker is coming off a career year in 2022 posting 222 carries for 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 appearances. Sanders also added 28 receptions for 271 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air.
The Razorbacks rusher has had a much more modest numbers in 2023 as Sanders has dealt with injuries. Sanders has 60 rushes for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns in five appearances this season.
This drop off in production could be a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys as Sanders is projected to be available in the middle rounds of the 2024 NFL draft. If the Cowboys decide to bring back Pollard, Sanders would also be a perfect complement to the current Dallas RB1.
Dallas Cowboys Rumors: Will Jerry Jones Let Tony Pollard Walk in Free Agency?
You have to look back to September 24 to see a game where Pollard has more than 60 rushing yards. Pollard has had 55 or fewer rushing yards in six straight contests heading into the team’s Week 11 matchup against the Panthers. This lack of production is creating Cowboys rumors about Pollard’s future as the star hits free agency this offseason.
There is still a world where Dallas could re-sign Pollard on a more team-friendly deal while also adding a running back either in free agency or via the draft. Pollard is playing on the $10 million franchise tag in 2023.
It is hard to imagine Pollard finding a lucrative deal in free agency. The combination of a declining running back market along with his underwhelming production could lead to Pollard landing a less expensive salary for 2024. The question is whether that will be in Dallas.