Cowboys Pushed to Replace Tony Pollard With ‘Physically Dominant’ Runner

Tony Pollard

Getty The Cowboys could consider moving on from Tony Pollard for Zack Moss.

The Dallas Cowboys could be on the search for a new franchise running back.

As the Cowboys enter the offseason, they’ll do so with running back Tony Pollard hitting free agency. Dallas could obviously re-sign — or even re-apply the franchise tag on Pollard — but if they decide to go in a different direction, Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss is someone Dallas should pursue, says Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey.

Tansey argues that Moss was a solid supporting piece to Jonathan Taylor as the Colts’ rushing attack ranked within the top 10 in all major rushing categories — rushing yards, touchdowns and yards per attempt.

“They could land a solid depth running back, like Zack Moss, to help the transition at the position from Pollard and Rico Dowdle,” writes Tansey. “Dallas may be best off finding its new primary running back in the middle rounds of the 2024 NFL draft, but if it goes that route, it needs to have a veteran in support of that player.”

Why Zack Moss Will Be Hot Name in Free Agency

The 26-year-old Moss had a breakthrough campaign in 2023 as he began the season as the Colts’ starting running back. Due to Taylor being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Moss started five of the Colts’ first six games. Moss ran for 466 yards on 96 carries on 4.9 yards per carry and four touchdowns during that stretch.

While his role obviously diminished with the return of Taylor, he still posted the best season of his career. Moss finished the season with 794 yards on 183 carries on 4.3 yards per attempt to go along with five touchdowns in 14 games and eight starts.

Just prior to the 2020 NFL draft, CBS Sports’ Dave Richard raved over Moss’ “physically dominant” running style.

Zack Moss was a physically dominant rusher at Utah. If he can do the same in the NFL, he’ll be among the best running backs in his rookie class.

With Taylor entrenched as the Colts’ starting running back — he signed a three-year, $42 million contract extension during the season — it’s likely that Moss seeks another situation where he’ll be able to either start, at least garner the majority of the carries.

According to Spotrac, Moss’ market value is $4.6 million per year across two seasons at slightly more than $9.2 million. Moss would still just be the 18th-highest paid back in the league.

Why Cowboys Could Allow Tony Pollard to Walk in Free Agency

By comparison, Pollard’s projected market value is $6.6 million per year across three seasons at slightly more than $19.8 million, which would make him the 11th-highest back in the league.

While Pollard’s efficiency declined big time in his first season as a starting back — he averaged 4.0 yards per carry in comparison to the 5.2 yards per attempt he averaged during the 2022 season — he’s still one of the better dual-threat backs in the league. Furthermore, he has a Pro Bowl selection (2022) on his resume and scored 12 touchdowns — ranking eighth in the NFL — last season.

To top it off, Pollard proved he can at least carry the load as a full-time running back, ranking sixth in the NFL with 307 touches. By comparison, Moss has started just 11 of his 53 career appearances and has never posted more than 210 touches in a single season.

As Tansey mentions, if Pollard chases big money elsewhere, the Cowboys have to bring in a veteran — like Moss — to complement a young back they’ll likely target in the draft.

The possibility also exists where the Cowboys could simply pair Pollard and Moss together — if Pollard doesn’t find a bigger deal elsewhere — but if Dallas is forced to move on from their Pro Bowl runner, Moss is a good replacement to target.

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