Tony Pollard is encouraged to return to the Cowboys with a significant reduction in pay.

March 2, 2024

Although many predicted that the Dallas Cowboys would part ways with Tony Pollard, a fresh perspective suggests that he might stay on as their running back. Initially expected to flourish in 2023, his underwhelming showings while being tagged by the franchise have altered people’s viewpoints.

With the free agency window nearing, journalist Bill Barnwell from ESPN suggests that Pollard might secure a new contract for half of his previous salary in 2023. According to him, Pollard could expect an offer ranging between $4-6 million p.a., making it more cost-effective than before.

Barnwell mentioned on February 29 that Pollard, who is only 26 years old and expected to make a complete recovery from the injury he sustained recently, might find it challenging to be projected by teams as a top-performing primary back in 2024.

Barnwell’s projected figure must be tempting for the Cowboys, according to RJ Ochoa of Blogging the Boys. Additionally, he notes that Pollard was most effective while operating in a system with two backs.

To generate discussion, let us assume that Pollard can be acquired (purely hypothetical) for $5 million per annum. This is not a significant amount of money and is definitely worthwhile to pursue,” stated Ochoa on March 2nd.

The optimal strategy for the Cowboys (and any team really) would be to implement a running back committee approach by coupling an affordable Pollard with a new draft pick; this could truly rejuvenate their current roster.”

In 2023, Pollard experiences a regression.

While a 1000-yard season is usually viewed as an accomplishment, upon further examination of the stats, Pollard’s numbers tell a different story. In 2023, he remained competent but was significantly less effective than before.

Pollard’s statistics on Pro Football Reference indicate that he ran for 1005 yards after carrying the ball 252 times. It is noteworthy to mention, then, that during his run in 2022 with almost sixty attempts less or only a total of 193 carries under his belt, Pollard managed to get two fewer yards than previously at precisely one thousand and seven.

This statistical comparison raises some concerns because it signifies how much his average dropped from an impressive five-point-two every rush downed before now leaving him only averaging four points per rushing attempt!

Additionally, Pollard’s impact in the passing game was less dynamic. He achieved a new personal best for receptions with 55 catches; however, his receiving yardage of only 311 reflected a significant decline since the prior year.

Moreover, despite scoring an impressive total of twelve touchdowns during the previous season (in 2022), he managed to score merely six throughout all of the games played by him in 2023.

One aspect worth pondering is the team’s reliance on QB Dak Prescott, who was a close contender for MVP. However, it cannot be ignored that having Pollard as the lone RB did not prove to be as successful compared to utilizing a two-back setup.

The Cowboys are in the process of calculating their salary cap.

The recent announcement that Tyron Smith, who has been a tackle for an extended period of time, will not be coming back in 2024 takes some pressure off the concerns surrounding the salary cap.

Nevertheless, Dallas is still confronted with figuring out how to accommodate new signings and extensions while creating room.

As it stands, Pollard appears to be a lesser concern. According to Spotrac data, Dallas exceeds the salary cap by $4 million and must prioritize making adjustments in order to secure adequate room for signing draft picks before proceeding with other matters.

If Pollard becomes available for approximately $5 million in 2024, the Cowboys ought to be able to manage it. Having a seasoned player on board is a positive addition while Dallas can easily acquire another running back through drafting as their second option at reasonable costs.

It’s a smooth shift when compared to the Cowboys’ expenditures on RBs in recent times. With Ezekiel Elliott’s era and the Pollard solo trial, Dallas must prioritize cost-effectiveness now.