Tony Pollard has already signed his franchise tag offer sheet from the Dallas Cowboys keeping him in Big D for 2023. Yet, Pollard’s future beyond next season is far less certain, especially with NFL franchises moving on from veteran running backs sooner rather than later.
The Athletic’s Bob Sturm believes the Cowboys will consider taking a running back early in the upcoming draft creating a potential pathway for Dallas to move on from Pollard next offseason. Sturm has the Cowboys selecting former UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet at No. 58 as Pollard insurance.
“Picking between Charbonnet and [Texas A&M Devon Achane] is an interesting conversation and there is no doubt that the Aggies’ sprinter is the one with the most juice, but when Tony Pollard exits after this season (possibly), which of these two would I trust to be a ‘bell cow’ and primary back in 2024?” Sturm remarked in March 27, 2023. “Probably the big one from UCLA who just seems to be the type of 215-pound player the odds like a bit more. I did think about WR and OL here, too, but I think Charbonnet is the best player on my board and a great pick at 58, even though I really wrestle with Mauch. This choice could go either way — give me the big RB.”
Tony Pollard Is Slated to Have a $10 Million Salary in 2023
Dallas used the franchise tag on Pollard which gives the running back a $10 million salary for next season, far above his previous rookie deal of $3.1 million over four years. Yet, the Cowboys could have a bit of buyer’s remorse because veteran running backs are not finding lucrative deals in free agency.
Dallas may have been able to sign Pollard to a long-term deal with a much lower average annual salary. Some of this declining value at the position is tied to the strong running back class in the 2023 draft, but in recent years teams are trending towards pursuing rookie rushers over re-signing veteran playmakers.
Ex-Cowboys Scout Predicts Tony Pollard Will Follow Dalton Schultz’s Path Out of Dallas
Former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus sees Pollard’s situation playing out exactly how the front office handled Dalton Schultz. Dallas used the franchise tag on Schultz in 2022 and let the tight end walk in free agency without much of a fight this offseason. Pollard’s broken fibula the star sustained in the postseason complicates what the team can expect from the playmaker next season.
“Honestly, I think this Tony Pollard situation is going to be very similar to what we saw with Dalton Schultz,” Broaddus explained during a March 27 edition of the “Love of the Star” podcast. “And especially if in fact that Ronald Jones or anybody that they draft shows up this year and is able to have production for not $10 million.
“Tony Pollard’s a hell of a player, but [with] Tony Pollard there’s questions. We Dallas Cowboys fans they’ve been through this. They’ve seen or heard us talking about, ‘Well, Dak Prescott coming back from this and okay, well then here’s Michael Gallup coming back from this. And here’s now Tony Pollard [coming back from an injury].’ There’s so much unknown right now about that.
“…The players work hard. [Cowboys athletic trainer] Britt Brown works hard with ’em to get ’em back rehabbing. But you don’t know. You don’t know how effective that they’re really really gonna be.”