A few weeks and a couple of trades ago the Dallas Cowboys made the first move of their offseason by placing the franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard. It was always the move that made the most sense.
Pollard was taken in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Cowboys and while he was not used a ton during his first two seasons we have seen his role on the team grow more and more since 2021. Tony has had back-to-back seasons with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and this past season topped 1,300.
The subject of running backs, more specifically the subject of paying them, is a bit of a controversial one in today’s NFL. It is not a position that necessarily merits top-shelf resources, but it would have been hard for the Cowboys to get more explosive on offense in 2023 if they let Pollard walk.
Tony Pollard has officially signed his franchise tag and will return for the 2023 season
While it will be fascinating to see if the Cowboys legitimately pursue a long-term deal with Tony Pollard we can at least let go of the small but existent possibility of him holding out for this coming season.
This is the case because while the Cowboys tagged Pollard it remained within the realm possibility that he could demand a long-term contract; however, on Thursday it was reported that he has signed the franchise tag which secures his services for 2023 at the very least.
Tony Pollard has signed his franchise tag, per source. He’s due $10.091 million this year. Pollard and the Cowboys have until July 17 to work out long-term deal.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 23, 2023
The franchise tag for running backs this offseason is just north of $10M (ironically it is partly inflated due to the contract that Dallas gave to Ezekiel Elliott back in the summer of 2019) so Tony Pollard is now on the books for at least that amount without any drama. It is worth noting that he is coming off of a fractured left fibula that he suffered in the Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but team brass has spoken positively about him being ready for training camp.
As ESPN’s Todd Archer notes the Cowboys have until July 17th to work out a long-term deal with Pollard before contract negotiations must cease until next offseason. But again, if they are unable to secure one the team is at least assured of having Pollard in their backfield this coming season.